Claudio Ranieri says champions Leicester City have accepted their fairytale is over, but wants his players to prove they are not “losers”.
Leicester host Manchester United in a crucial Premier League match on Sunday, with Ranieri facing pressure over their disappointing form.
The Foxes are only one point clear of the relegation zone in 16th place and have lost three consecutive top-flight games.
Ranieri acknowledges the hangover from last season has affected Leicester’s results in this campaign, but thinks his squad will fight all the way to avoid relegation.
“I can understand what we did last season was something special, a fairytale,” the Leicester manager said to Sky Sports.
“I was waiting for this kind of season last season. Then we made something extraordinary, out of the world. Everything was fantastic, everything was right.
“Everything now is wrong. I think we thought a lot about what we did last season – everything was fantastic and then we believed it was possible also this season. No, it’s finished.
“The fairytale has finished. Now it is the reality. Now you have to choose – if you are a loser, you say it’s gone. If you aren’t a loser you fight, you continue to fight, believe.
“I believe we can arrive, we must be together, together with the fans. The fans enjoyed last season and less so this season, but we are a family, we are strong.
“Now is the right time. If you are a loser in this sport, you are a loser also in life. If you are a gladiator, a fighter in this sport, in life you can be the same.
“The reality must come back, and from two seasons ago, the fighting until the end. I believe because my players are champions and fighters.”
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