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Thursday, 28 April 2016 01:32

Ranieri: We are so close; we must keep fighting

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Claudio Ranieri praised the influence of playmaker Riyad Mahrez this season Claudio Ranieri praised the influence of playmaker Riyad Mahrez this season

Leicester City manager speaks about BPL title race ahead of crunch trip to Manchester United

Claudio Ranieri says Leicester City must not show any complacency with his side now within touching distance of a memorable Barclays Premier League title.

The Foxes manager was speaking at the London launch of the partnership between the Premier League and TAG Heuer less than 24 hours after nearest challengers Tottenham Hotspur dropped crucial points when they were held to a 1-1 draw by West Bromwich Albion.

Leicester City are now seven points clear at the top of the table with only three matches to play, meaning they can claim their first BPL crown with victory at Manchester United on Sunday.

When asked of his reaction after hearing Monday night's Spurs result, Ranieri said: "I was a little more light; a little.

"I said with my heart that we try to do our best but if the others are better than us I want to say only congratulations to the others. But of course now we are there, we are very so close, and we have to continue to fight."

Ranieri, whose side have only one BPL victory at Old Trafford, insists his players are fully focused on the match despite so much being at stake.

"I tell to my players always that it's not important the result, it's important the performance," he added. "I want them to play as a team because football is a team job. It's a team game. Eleven players play together.

"It's not important the name of your opponent, it's important what you do during the match."

Leicester were recognised for their incredible season, coming a year after the club narrowly avoided relegation, with playmaker Riyad Mahrez claiming the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year Award on Sunday.

The 25-year-old has enjoyed a superb campaign, with 17 goals and 11 assists, and Ranieri said: "I'm very proud. Every time he asks me 'what I can do to improve more?' That is fantastic. He's a genius, he's our light.

"But I want to say also [that] all our players are fantastic because they are doing a fantastic season [and have been] very, very good professionally."

Alongside Ranieri at the partnership launch was General Manager of Professional Game Match Officials Mike Riley, who welcomed TAG Heuer as the Premier League's first Official Time Keeper and Watch Partner.

TAG Heuer is working with PGMOL to design a new TAG Heuer Connected smartwatch, which will meet their timing and training needs.

Riley said the watch will help the officials keep a proper record of the game and added: "Not only that, it will then be developed to allow GPS data, heart-rate data and looking for other applications going forward in the future as well.

"We know how precious 90 minutes of Premier League football is and now we have a piece of equipment that allows us to keep track of that in the best way possible."


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