Claudio Ranieri speaks about managers at rival Premier League clubs, says Mourinho can be like Sir Alex
Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri has come out and said that his squad are not favourites for the Premier League title this season in spite of taking home the trophy last season by defying 5000/1 odds. The Foxes were crowned Premier League champions with two games to spare in May last season and became only the sixth club to ever win the EPL title since the league was founded in 1992.
In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, the Italian manager said: “If at the beginning of last season the bookmakers quoted 5000/1 on our chances of the [Premier League] title, this time, it's 6000/1!”
Ranieri is not getting carried away with the stunning achievement which was also the unlikeliest championship win in the history of sports. The Foxes only lost thrice in 38 games to take home the trophy with a 10-point lead over runners-up Arsenal.
But this season, Ranieri has set short-term goals instead of thinking about defending the title from the very first matchday. With the loss of N’Golo Kante to Chelsea and reports of Riyad Mahrez rejecting a new contract, his thinking is grounded.
“The goal to start with is the threshold of 40 points to survive,” Ranieri explained. “Then we will raise the bar: getting in the top 10, the Europa League, a place in the Champions League and maybe win a trophy from the five in which we will play.”
After their pre-season preparations, which involve matches against Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, their first big game will be the Community Shield against FA Cup winners Manchester United. They will then be vying for the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup this season.
Jose Mourinho can be like Sir Alex Ferguson: Ranieri
Ranieri was also asked about the new managers taking up roles at his biggest rival clubs in the chase for the Premier League title. Jose Mourinho returns to the EPL after he was sacked by Chelsea last December, albeit with Manchester United. On the other hand, Pep Guardiola has taken over at Manchester City while Ranieri’s compatriot Antonio Conte was offered the Chelsea job.
“Mourinho can be the new Ferguson,” Ranieri said. “He will not stay 26 years, but he will leave his imprint.”
“Antonio and Chelsea are made for each other,” he said about his fellow countryman. “Guardiola seems to be the right man in the right place.”
He was also asked about Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, of which the former was in the title race until the final month of the season.
“Pochettino has been an exemplary rival in the Leicester-Tottenham title race. He's working very well.
“Klopp now has the advantage of having broken the ice and has learned more about the Premier League. He seems perfect for a particular environment such as Liverpool.”