Claudio Ranieri borrowed Barack Obama’s famous ”Yes we can” slogan as the Leicester manager spoke frankly for the first time this season about his side’s Premier League title chances.
The US president used the slogan, credited with capturing the imagination of voters tired of Washington’s usual brand of politics, during his successful 2008 White House campaign.
Similarly, Leicester have captured the imagination of football fans all over this country with their surprise rise, with neutrals largely wanting a change from the norm and to see Ranieri’s men become champions ahead of Manchester City and Arsenal.
The Italian has been asked on countless occasions over the past few months whether he believes Leicester can win the Premier League and he has played it down every time.
Ahead of Saturday’s crucial top-of-the-table clash with City at the Etihad Stadium though, he let down his guard momentarily.
”I know what you try to do,” said Ranieri laughing when asked the question again. ”You are bad.
”I’d like to say ”yes we can” but I am not Obama so it is difficult to do this.
”All the people understand, the fans of other teams too, that we are doing something extraordinary so far. The energy from other fans is positive and good.
”I don’t know what happens in the future, but to our own fans we can give a fantastic gift.
”My players are very, very intelligent in every situation. Maybe everybody believe in something special and they are working for something special. This is important.”
Ranieri is a nearly man when it comes to major league titles.
The 64-year-old has won lower league titles in Italy and France, and has been very successful in cup competitions wherever he has been, but he has never steered a club to a top-flight championship, finishing runners-up with Chelsea, Juventus, Roma and Monaco.
Could this year be the first time?
Ranieri said: ”Could be, I don’t know. Sooner or later.
”I have experience. I arrive in Rome it was after two matches and Roma had zero points. If Roma had maybe one or two points, we would have won the league. That is the life.
”And after people say ”Ranieri lost the title.” I lost the title but I was not at Roma at the beginning of the season, it was during the season. There is a big difference.
”I think my knowledge help me because I win the title in third division and second division (in Italy), I arrive third at Juventus and second at Juventus. Second in Rome, second in Monaco.”