Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has described the Premier League season as “crazy” and still insists they are not the favourites for the title.
Leicester beat Watford 1-0 last weekend courtesy of a wonder goal from playmaker Riyad Mahrez, sending them five points clear at the top of the league with nine games remaining.
During their last 38 games, including the final nine games of last season – where they won seven to avoid relegation – Leicester have earned 82 points, 11 more than any other top flight team in the same period.
The Foxes face 19th-placed Newcastle at the King Power Stadium on Monday night, and Ranieri insists that he is fully focused on that game, and not the Premier League title.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Ranieri said: “We are the same, for me the favourites are the others, of course. We have to fight then just at the end of the season we can say ‘we have achieved this’.
“Now we aren’t thinking about how many points, we’re thinking about Newcastle.
“The league this year is crazy. We are fighting because it’s a crazy league and anything could happen. I think it will be another difficult match. They have good players, with fantastic fans.”
Meanwhile, winger Mahrez has given Leicester an injury boost ahead of their crucial game against Newcastle.
There were fears he had suffered a hamstring injury but boss Ranieri has confirmed his 16-goal star has trained this week and is fit to face Newcastle.
“He is good, everybody is in a good condition,” said the Italian. “There are no problems (with Mahrez). It was a little cramp.”
Mahrez has been linked with a move away from the club, but Ranieri described a recent photo of the Algerian wearing a Barcelona shirt on holiday as “just speculation”.