Claudio Ranieri promised Leicester City’s owners he would stay at the club even if they were relegated from the Premier League this season.
Thankfully for Ranieri and his players, that does not look a likely occurrence with Leicester surprisingly topping the Premier League table after 16 games.
The revelation serves to remind just how extraordinary Leicester’s season has been thus far, surpassing even Ranieri’s wildest dreams upon his appointment.
”Look I didn’t believe when I signed my contract that in December we are top of the league,’ Ranieri said.
“But two things were very, very fantastic for me. One, to hear from my owner that he wants in the next two years to maintain Leicester in the Premier League, then grow up and try to achieve the top places.
“The other is when the son asked me, ‘If everything goes wrong, you stay with us in the Championship?’ I said, ‘Yes I will stay here.’
“So the father and the son wanted to know [on each possibility]. This was amazing for me because there was a balance – there was a big project but also they wanted me to stay even is everything is wrong. It was important for me to understand this philosophy.”
While Leicester’s Thai owners clearly have big plans for the club, the lack of pressure to deliver instantly has seemingly bought the best out of Ranieri and his players.
Ranieri said it was only the second time in his career he had been afforded such support, with the first coming with Cagliari between 1988 and 1991.
“When I was young at Cagliari, we won Serie C, we won Serie B and we arrived in Serie A. But the first year was like Leicester last season – at the end of the first half, we were not just down but down-down,” he added.
“Nobody believed in us, a lot of journalists asked the chairman, ‘OK, you sack Claudio? He won Serie C and B but not in Serie A’. But he told me, ‘Don’t worry Claudio, we went with you from C to B to A, we’d go with you from A to B to C’.”
Leicester can maintain top spot in the Premier League with a win at Everton on Saturday.