Despite slipping ever closer to the relegation zone, Claudio Ranieri insists his Leicester City players have lost none of the belief they have in themselves.
A little over 12 months ago the Foxes outlined their credentials as genuine title contenders, when they stunned Manchester City 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium to go five points clear at the top. Ranieri’s side maintained this sort of form for the remainder of the season, and were confirmed the most surprising champions in history when they lifted the trophy in May.
This time round, though, it’s been an altogether different story. Leicester have won just five times all campaign, and whereas they lost just three times last season, they have already suffered 14 defeats this term. Their latest reversal came on Sunday afternoon, when fellow strugglers Swansea City recorded a 2-0 in at the Liberty Stadium.
This defeat leaves the Foxes just one place and one point above the relegation zone with 13 matches left to play, as the prospect of the champions being demoted to the Championship becomes a distinct possibility. But despite their woeful defence of the title, Ranieri insists he and his players still believe they are strong enough to survive the drop.
“I am still the right man for the job,” said the Italian. “I always question myself but I always say ‘come on, we can do something good. I don’t think the players have lost belief. When I listen to them speaking, they want to react and do something better. That is important because I am confident when I listen to these words. But we have to find a solution soon.”