If Leicester City win the Premier League it will be the result of goals from Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, not their defensive solidity, according to Everton manager Roberto Martinez.
Leicester can claim a maiden top-flight title if they defeat Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, though they will be without Vardy as he serves the final game of his two-match ban for improper conduct.
Defensive resilience and a potent attack have been key to an unlikely title charge from Claudio Ranieri’s side.
Martinez’s team, by contrast, sit 11th, having being criticised for an over-emphasis on attack, with failings at the back regularly costing them points.
However, the Spaniard believes it is the 22 goals of Vardy and the 17 of Mahrez, rather than organisation when out of possession, that has propelled Leicester to the brink of glory, using tactics he would not seek to emulate.
“The level of your team will give you a certain level. You will never overachieve, you will never win silverware. That is a choice. I respect every style,” Martinez said in an interview with Jamie Carragher published in The Daily Mail.
“It is how you bring the goalscoring threat into that style. Look at Leicester. They have been magnificent in how they have been so well-organised and so difficult to break down. They are so structured.
“But that is not what is going to give them the title. What will give them the title is that incredible goalscoring threat from Vardy and Mahrez and the set-plays they have. It’s magnificent, a fairytale. They began the season at 5000-1 to win the title, so it’s not the norm.
“I want to build my teams so I don’t have to rely on the quality of the individual in order to break teams down and keep a clean sheet rather than the other way around. That is my choice.”
Martinez also spoke out in support of centre-back John Stones, who has been criticised for several lapses of concentration throughout this season.
“He is only 21. The experience he has had this season is going to make him the player he can be.
“He has had too much scrutiny. I don’t think someone at 21 should be scrutinised in every action that he does, for good and bad.
“Maybe we do it with certain English players? Maybe we do it in certain moments. But we have got players now who are under immense scrutiny.
“They deserve a bit of space and they should be left alone a little bit until they make 150, 200 games. Then you can have a stronger judgement.”
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