Shinji Okazaki believes Leicester City will pull off a footballing “miracle” if they secure the Premier League title.
Claudio Ranieri’s men were among the favourites for relegation at the beginning of the season but they head into the final five games seven points clear of nearest rivals Tottenham at the summit.
An attacking line-up featuring Japan international Okazaki alongside PFA Player of the Year nominees Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez and a rock-solid defence have combined to leave Leicester on the cusp of an improbable triumph.
“I think it’s a miracle,” Okazaki told Omnisport.
“To be honest, at the beginning of the season, I didn’t expect Vardy would do so well and the same about Riyad.
“I didn’t expect that the defenders could do this well and get so many clean sheets either.
“So, if we win the league, it will be a miracle but it is inevitable for us. There is no doubt because I’ve been with these players all season, seeing them closely.
“We have been getting more confident as we get more wins. And it’s also good for us not to change.
“The critical point of this team is that every player can execute what they are supposed to do.
“We’ve been where we are because the team has continued doing clearly what we have got to do. And we haven’t changed throughout the season.”
Okazaki joined Leicester after they won seven of their final nine games at the end of 2014-15 to retain Premier League status and he feels that experience is helping his team-mates to deal with the pressure of a title run-in.
“I wasn’t there though, for me, the team seems like everyone hasn’t forgot that we were in the relegation battle last season and we managed to stay up,” he explained.
“I can see them thinking the pressure on the title race is less than relegation battle – the team that everyone thought were going down but made a miracle to stay up.
“I believe last season’s experience is our strength.”