Ranieri hails Foxes' unconquerable 'heart and soul'
LEICESTER City manager Claudio Ranieri has steeled his fairytale-chasing players for a pivotal trip to Manchester United but believes that there is no match for his team's "heart and soul".
The Foxes, who escaped relegation from the Premier League last season, went eight points clear at the top of the table after crushing Swansea City 4-0 on Sunday. They require five points from their last three games to claim their first-ever championship.
But Tottenham Hotspur could have trimmed Leicester's lead back to five points by beating West Brom this morning. And with United buoyant after their FA Cup semi-final victory over Everton, Ranieri warned that the race was still far from run.
"I'm optimistic, I'm positive. And I know it is not easy because, in my mind, Tottenham will win all the matches and then we need five points," said Ranieri, whose side host Everton in their final home game before finishing the season at outgoing champions Chelsea.
Leicester were missing 22-goal top scorer Jamie Vardy through suspension against Swansea. But his deputy, Leonardo Ulloa, made sure that he was not missed by contributing a brace, sandwiched by strikes from Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton.
Vardy also stands to miss the trip to Old Trafford after accepting a Football Association misconduct charge over his furious reaction to being sent off in the 2-2 draw with West Ham United. Ranieri knows that Louis van Gaal's United will be a different prospect to sleepwalking Swansea.
"Once, you can do a fantastic performance without Jamie, but if Jamie takes another day off with suspension, it's important to be solid, to be stronger than today because United is a very good team," he said.
"We enjoy all the season. Now, there're only three matches we know are very important for our history. But for this reason, we give everything.
"We play with our heart and it's difficult to beat (a team) who play or fight with heart and soul."