Ranieri pragmatic on Leicester’s prospects of defending title


After losing just three times during the entire 2015-2016 Premier League campaign, the Foxes won the championship by 10 points from runners-up Arsenal.

As a result of masterminding that achievement, Ranieri was named both the League Managers’ Association and Premier League, manager of the year.

Ranieri’s estimation of Leicester’s expectations

Testament to Ranieri’s graciousness and humility, is that despite receiving those awards and leading Leicester to the title, the 64-year-old Italian’s ambition for the season ahead is to ensure his team retain their Premier League status for a third successive season.

“Our objective to start the season with is to reach 40 points and stay up,” Ranieri revealed in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Leicester amassed 40 points after just 20 games last season, which represented their total for the entire 2014-2015 campaign, before going on to win 12, draw five and lost just one of their remaining 18 matches.

Ultimately whilst being pragmatic on his side’s prospects for the forthcoming season, Ranieri also acknowledges that the potential exists for his team to achieve far more than merely avoid relegation

“Once we’ve achieved that, we can raise the bar: finish in the top 10, qualify for the Europa League, a place in the Champions League. Maybe we can win one of the five trophies we will be challenging for: Community Shield, Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League. That is our running order step-by-step,” said Ranieri, who is currently enduring a difficult summer in terms of battling to keep a hold of his best players.

Testing summer for Ranieri

Specifically after striker Jamie Vardy decided to decline the opportunity to join Arsenal and instead sign a new four year deal with the Foxes, they sold N’Golo Kante to Chelsea for £30m, whilst speculation continues to circulate that last season’s PFA Player of the Year, Riyadh Mahrez may move away from the club.

Nevertheless Ranieri has been able to add some quality new players to his squad, including Nampalys-Mendy who has the capability to seamlessly integrate into Leicester’s midfield and fill the void created by Kante’s departure.

As well as Mendy, Leicester have also signed goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler, defender Luis Hernandez and Ahmed Musa with the Nigerian international striker arriving for a club record fee of £15.6m from CSKA Moscow.

Potential to enjoy another successful season

Taking into account the excellent business the Foxes have completed so far in the transfer market this summer and that Kante is the only key member of their title winning side to have left the club, they seem extremely well equipped to not only comfortably achieve Ranieri’s fundamental aim of avoiding relegation, but to also handle the demands associated with competing domestically and in the Champions League.

Of Leicester’s current squad, only a half-a-dozen have experience of playing in European football’s elite club competition. Those are Daniel Amartey (Copenhagen), Christian Fuchs (Schalke 04), Robert Huth (Chelsea) Gokhan Inler (Napoli), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow) and Marcin Wasilewski (Anderlecht).

As such the majority of Leicester’s players are set to enter previously uncharted territory but since they can do so fearlessly given that they are embarking upon their new adventure under the excellent guidance of Ranieri.

The former Chelsea manager’s first assignment of the 2016-2017 will arrive on 7 August when Leicester face Manchester United in the community shield, before they start their Premier League campaign at the KC Stadium against Hull on 13 August.

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