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Ranieri: We can use this season to build

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is hoping he can help build the club into one of the Premier League’s strongest competitors. 

Ranieri’s side are enjoying a dream run in the league so far this season, sitting first in the table with a two-point gap over Arsenal. 

Leicester are the only side to lose just once in the league and will be top on Christmas Day with a win against Everton on Saturday.

And Ranieri is hoping Leicester’s run this season could prove a platform in their bid to become a top club over the next few years.

“I’ve read about who arrive at Christmas Day at the top will win the league, blah, blah, blah… but this is a strange league. Everything is strange,” the 64-year-old said. 

“Maybe it is right to listen to Sir Alex [Ferguson], because he is not involved in this race.

“Of course I would like to win. Who doesn’t like to win the Premier League? Sir Alex knows about horse-racing and about how the horses arrive in the last 10 metres or 100 metres. I want my horses at the end of the race.

“This year for us is a good time to build.

“Now nobody believes in Leicester. I hope in the next years, everybody has to put Leicester in the top of the league. I want to build with this group, to be at the top for next season.”

Leicester’s form has seen their two top scorers Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez linked with moves to bigger clubs in the January transfer window.

But Ranieri said he has spoken to the duo and confirmed they will stay until the end of the season. 

“Already I spoke to the two guys: ‘We continue together, we can improve, to help grow up the team. Maybe at end of the season we can speak’,” he said.

“If I suggest to them it is much better they continue with us: ‘If you believe in me, follow me.’ We are on a good flight now.

“In my mind, they are the first people I want to keep and continue with this group.

“It’s important to maintain this mentality. This friendly group. Every ball, they help each other. They are desperate to win every single ball. I love this.

“Riyad now is in a fantastic moment. He has improved a lot. When you change team, it is important to arrive at the right moment. His right place is here in Leicester at the moment.

“My owner asked me to be safe [from relegation]. The rest is for us. I am very ambitious. I hope the players are even more ambitious than me.”

Fri 18 Dec, 2015
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