Ranieri keen to keep underdog tag for high-flying Leicester
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri said it will be harder for his team to successfully defend their Premier League title this season than it was for them to win it.
The Italian, who steered the Foxes to an unlikely title with a team ranked as 5,000/1 outsiders at the start of the campaign, added that the odds of Leicester repeating the feat should be even longer this term.
“I’m very curious about this season,” Ranieri told reporters on Thursday. “Our target is again 40 points and then to see what happens.
“The big teams are ready to fight for the title and we are ready to defend it.
“Everything is different. We have to be clever to repeat (last season’s triumph). It’s 6,000/1. It’s more likely ET will land in Piccadilly Circus.”
Ranieri lost midfield enforcer N’Golo Kante to Chelsea earlier in the close season but said there had been no approaches for influential Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez, whose future has been the subject of intense speculation.
“Could I know who is interested in Mahrez? No. Riyad stays with us,” Ranieri added.
“At the moment, I am very happy with this squad and until Aug. 31 the market is open. If something happens, why not? But at the moment it is closed.”
Leicester begin the defence of their title with a trip to promoted Hull City on Saturday.