An emotional Claudio Ranieri thanked fans of his former club Chelsea for their warm reception ahead of their 1-1 Premier League draw with Leicester City.
Leicester completed an unlikely title triumph when Chelsea held Tottenham 2-2 at Stamford Bridge on May 2, and ended the season 10 points clear of Arsenal in second.
Ranieri and his players were welcomed onto the pitch with a guard of honour from the deposed champions, with the Italian – Chelsea manager between 2000 and 2004 – clearly emotional as he was applauded by the home faithful.
The 64-year-old thanked the supporters for creating such a positive atmosphere.
“The emotion is fantastic, it was a good atmosphere and I want to say thank you to our fans and the Chelsea fans. It was amazing,” Ranieri told Sky Sports.
Danny Drinkwater’s strike in the 83rd minute cancelled out Cesc Fabregas’ penalty, and the manager was pleased to see his team continue fighting in the late stages.
“It was important to finish well and it was a good match. Both teams had great chances and well done to the players,” said Ranieri.
“They made a lot of sacrifices in the hot weather to keep pressing. [I am] very, very proud because our strength is to be a unit and fight for each other. It was our motive all season.
“We have to realise what has happened and then look back on our season.”
Ranieri rewarded the Leicester players with pizza following their first clean sheet of the season against Crystal Palace last October, but he revealed they have different plans for Sunday.
“No pizza tonight, our chairman has invited us for dinner,” he added.