Ranieri: Fans were never against me, only journalists

Date published: Monday 25th April 2016 8:13

Claudio Ranieri praised his Leicester side for proving they can cope without the banned Jamie Vardy as they closed in on the Barclays Premier League title.

The Foxes thumped Swansea 4-0 at the King Power Stadium on Sunday to move eight points clear at the top of the table.

Vardy’s replacement, Leonardo Ulloa, scored twice while Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton also netted for the hosts, who have lost just once in their last 13 games.

England star Vardy, who has scored 22 goals this season, could still be banned for a further match as he faces an improper conduct charge following his reaction to referee Jon Moss after being sent off in last week’s 2-2 draw with West Ham.

He may miss Saturday’s trip to Manchester United with a decision expected by Tuesday at the latest but Ranieri insisted the Foxes sent a message without him.

He said: “It’s important because everyone wants to see our answer without Jamie Vardy and that was a fantastic answer in my opinion.

“I am very, very pleased with Leonardo, he scored twice, I am very pleased with (Jeff) Schlupp and all of my players. Leonardo made a fantastic performance, he jumped, he scored two goals, he attacked, he defended. Well done.”

And Ranieri has told his side to finish the job as they look to claim the title after being 5,000-1 to win the league at the start of the season.

“I talked to my players before the match and I said we had a dream so far, now make a dream reality,” he said, although Tottenham will cut the gap with a win over West Brom on Monday.

“Now is the right moment to push. If Tottenham are better than us, okay, but we have to fight because we will never have this fantastic moment.

“Now there are only three matches, we know they are very important for our history but for this reason we give everything. We play with our hearts and it’s difficult to beat those who play with the heart and soul.”

He also insisted he is not out for revenge after being tipped to be one of the first managers to be sacked after he replaced Nigel Pearson in the summer.

Ranieri added: “There isn’t revenge, I am the same man. If I was stupid at that time, I am stupid now. I never think the fans were negative with me, never. (Only) some of you, some of my sharks (journalists).”

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