Premier League: Front-runners Leicester City sharpen their sights on title

GO FOR IT: Leicester City manager, Claudio Ranieri.
GO FOR IT: Leicester City manager, Claudio Ranieri.
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Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri has finally targeted the title and told his Foxes to go for glory.

The Italian has guided the club to the top of the Premier League and they are five points clear of Tottenham with just four games left.

They host Swansea tomorrow knowing a win will take them eight points clear as Spurs do not play West Brom until Monday.

The Foxes could win the title with victory at Manchester United next week if they beat Swansea and Spurs lose to the Baggies.

And – for the first time – Ranieri has broken his silence on their title talk and admitted it is Leicester’s goal after their spot in the Champions League group stages was confirmed this week.

He said: “Now we go straight away to try to win the title. Yes man, only this remains. I wanted 79 points and we have to fight more now.

“I talk to my players, ‘come on, now is the right moment to push’. I always believe, I am a positive man.

“If Tottenham go above us, congratulations, but I prefer to be five points ahead.

“We are in the Champions League, dilly ding, dilly dong –come on. We are in the Champions League, it is fantastic, terrific. Well done to everybody.”

Ranieri will be without Jamie Vardy after the striker accepted a Football Association charge of improper conduct following his reaction to referee Jon Moss after he was sent off in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with West Ham.

But Ranieri wants to move on from the incident, even though 22-goal Vardy could be hit by a further ban when a hearing is held next week.

He added: “We know he has one match off and our preparation is without him. He trained very well and he was not happy but he enjoyed the training session.

“We knew he had a suspension and then we move on.”

He also welcomed comments from England boss Roy Hodgson on Vardy’s situation after the Three Lions chief felt Vardy had a right to feel upset after he received a second yellow card for diving.

He said: “It’s not only sympathy, it’s the truth. He is going very fast and when you touch something you lose balance. Maybe it’s not a penalty but sure it’s not a yellow card.

“It’s important because Roy is an honest man and said what he watched.”

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino predicts Vardy’s suspension will have a “big impact” on Leicester’s title challenge.

Spurs cranked up the pressure last weekend, reducing the gap at the top to five points after Leicester were held at West Ham, and Pochettino believes Vardy will be a big miss for their rivals.

“I think that it’s a big impact for Leicester because Vardy is one of the best players in the Premier League. Sure, it’s a big impact for them,” said Pochettino.

“I think Leicester have very good players and are in a position that they deserve to be, this is important, nobody gave nothing for nothing. We are in the race for the title and I, like our supporters, hope Leicester will drop points in the next game so we can erase the gap.”