Ranieri offers his players some sweet cake

Date published: Friday 15th January 2016 2:40

Leicester City

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has told his players to enjoy the sweet taste of success after their bitter struggle last season.

The Foxes are second, behind Arsenal on goal difference, in the Barclays Premier League ahead of Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa.

Wednesday’s 1-0 win at Tottenham underlined their title credentials and continued a stunning turnaround from last year.

Leicester beat the drop after winning seven of their final nine games under former boss Nigel Pearson despite spending most of the season rooted in the relegation zone.

The Foxes have lost just twice this season and Ranieri insisted they need to revel in the change.

He said: “This is a young team and because last season was about fighting for survival they know the bitter taste of fighting at the bottom. Now they taste the cake at the top of the table and the difference is very high.

“I try to motivate my players but it’s important they have the right mentality. I want to see our performance and, after, the result is not important for me.

“I told my players ‘you fight’ – afterwards we look at which mistake you made and then we look at it in training.”

Arsenal go to Stoke on Sunday so a point at Villa Park would be enough to take the Foxes back to the top of the table when they play in the evening kick off.

Villa ended their 19-match winless run with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Tuesday and Ranieri, without Jeff Schlupp (hamstring), believes they could be a harder proposition than Tottenham.

He added: “I know now there is another tough match, perhaps tougher than Tottenham. Villa are a good team and I remember the first game and how difficult it was to beat them (Leicester won 3-2 after being 2-0 down). They have won their last match and are now confident.”

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