Claudio Ranieri has dismissed Leicester City’s chances of retaining their Premier League crown, admitting there is “more chance of E.T. landing in Piccadilly Circus”.
Ranieri’s men stunned the football world in May by beating off Tottenham to claim the trophy but the Italian does not harbour much hope of a repeat.
Asked if he could envisage Leicester winning it again, he quipped: “It’s impossible, there is more chance of E.T. landing in Piccadilly Circus!
“But I think now we have less pressure than last season. Everything is different. We have to be clever to repeat it. It’s 6,000-1.”
How Leicester fare is one of many intriguing sub-plots in the Premier League with Ranieri again insisting 40 points, normally the total good enough to stave off relegation, is his primary target.
“We’re building and slowly getting better. It’s important to forget last season and build our squad,” he added.
“I’m very curious about this season. The big teams are ready to fight for the title and we are ready to defend it.
“Our target is again 40 points and then to see what happens.”
Ranieri also reiterated his determination to keep star winger Riyad Mahrez at Leicester with the Algeria international rumoured to be interesting Arsenal.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s opener at Hull City, he said: “Riyad is staying with us. I say to him ‘keep going, you have to improve your experience’.”
Ranieri could not have hand-picked better opponents for their opener with Hull having an injury-ravaged squad amid talk of a takeover by a Chinese consortium.
But the former Chelsea boss was exercising expected caution prior to the trip at the KCOM Stadium.
“Hull will want to show their best but we’re very concentrated now and we want to play our game,” said Ranieri.
“We have no injuries, everybody is fit and ready.”