Claudio Ranieri, manager of shock Premier League champions Leicester, believes sides like Chelsea and Liverpool who failed to even make the Champions League will be prepared to kill all opposition in the forthcoming season.
The 64-year-old Italian added the pressure was not on him but his rivals like old foe Jose Mourinho at Manchester United and Antonio Conte at one of his former clubs Chelsea.
Both of them like Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola have taken on new challenges although Mourinho and Conte like Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool don’t have Champions League campaigns to be concerned about.
“Everything’s different now. You imagine the big teams who didn’t win last season, who didn’t make the Champions League,” Ranieri told The Sun.
“They are going crazy now. They want to kill now — not just us but all the other teams,” added Ranieri who succeeded in keeping talismanic striker Jamie Vardy but lost French midfield enforcer N’Golo Kante at the weekend to Chelsea.
Ranieri, who suggested his side should be 6000/1 to defend their crown as opposed to the 5000/1 they were for last season’s title, said the managerial talent, all of it foreign, coming into the Premier League was fantastic but only one could emerge a winner.
“Antonio Conte is fantastic, Jose (Mourinho), everybody knows Jose,” said Ranieri, who once was sneeringly dismissed by Mourinho as having only won one small trophy.
“Pep Guardiola is an amazing person and a good manager.
“I’m laughing because at the end of the season only one will will win and the pressure is not on me, it’s on them!”
Ranieri admitted the odds were loaded in favour of one of the big beasts of the Premier Legue regaining the title given the disparity in transfer funds they had.
The Italian has been pretty busy in the transfer market beating the club record outlay twice in a week to secure former France Under-21 midfielder Nampalys Mendy for £13million, and then Nigerian forward Ahmed Musa for 16.6 million ($22 million, 20 million euros).
“The big clubs are spending a lot of money and for this reason they must win,” said Ranieri.
“Leicester City? People are just curious.
“What will happen with Leicester next season? Will it be a repeat?
“I say to them we can repeat the level of performance but not to win. To win again is a dream.” – Agence France-Presse