Claudio Ranieri kept focused on the magical 40-point mark last season, even as it became clear his Leicester City Foxes were a legit challenger for a European place.
Things have changed a bit these days at King Power Stadium. Despite only eight points to start the Premier League season, the manager of the champions is focusing on success in the UEFA Champions League rather than relegation.
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Although Ranieri admits there will be concerns down the line, right now it’s all about succeeding in a very winnable UCL group. Leicester has six points through two matches, and a win Tuesday at home to Copenhagen can almost assure continued European competition at some level after the group stage.
“They fight and last season we were more compact but now everyone knows about us. Now we are in the balance, in the middle, and not as good as last season but it’s normal for a team like Leicester.
“I think we can fight in every match. Now our training sessions are Premier League and Champions League. We are getting better and have to be solid and strong and don’t make any pressure about relegation.”
Ranieri also said he’s not worried about the scoring prowess of Jamie Vardy, who has just three goals in 12 matches this year. The manager says some of it is down to tactics, as he demanded the forward pester David Luiz rather than fly around the pitch in Leicester’s 3-0 loss to Chelsea on Saturday.
The 13th-place Foxes should steady the ship soon. Aside from an Oct. 29 date with Spurs, Leicester’s next six matches have Crystal Palace, West Brom, Watford, and Middlesbrough.