Ranieri confident Foxes on track to start flying again
(Reuters) - Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is confident his team have turned a corner and will start stringing wins together after an underwhelming start to the season.
The champions have lost four of their nine Premier League games so far -- more than they lost in the entirety of last season's title-winning campaign.
All their defeats have come on the road, while they have three wins and two draws at the King Power Stadium.
Leicester put in a much improved display against Crystal Palace last weekend, which allowed them to climb to 12th in the standings, and their manager said he saw signs that the team were getting back to their best.
"Against Crystal Palace, we were back to our philosophy, I recognised my players again. I want to continue in this way," the Italian told a news conference on Thursday.
"I think sooner or later we go back to winning."
Standing in the way of Leicester recording back-to-back wins as well as a first away victory of the season is a trip to White Hart Lane to take on Tottenham Hotspur, who are fifth in the table and the only unbeaten team in the top flight.
"We know it will be a good match. Tottenham are a fantastic team. Last year they were very close to us and will continue to fight for the title," Ranieri said.
Spurs are one point behind leaders Manchester City, but managed back-to-back draws against West Bromwich Albion and Bournemouth in their last two league outings.
With last season's top scorer Jamie Vardy off the boil and winger Riyad Mahrez seemingly saving his best performances for the Champions League, forward Shinji Okazaki has stepped up to the plate for Leicester, and scored against Palace.
Ranieri praised the 30-year-old and used his catch phrase to describe how Okazaki's work off the ball pushed his team mates to raise their game as well.
"For me, he is very important for the team because he presses a lot and he is our dilly-ding-dilly-dong for all the players – he wakes up everybody. He has control of the bell!" the Italian said.
"He is a hard worker and sometimes he is not so close to the goal but always when there is a ball around the box Shinji is there."
(Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)