Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri cleared out the fears of a possible injury to goal scorer Riyad Mahrez. He also refused to accept his team’s road to the Premier League title has become easier following Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Watford.
Mahrez pulled up with what seemed to be an injury while chasing down the ball in the 78th minute yesterday. He managed to continue playing for an additional seven minutes before being substituted by Daniel Amartey, but Ranieri revealed after the match that there was no such cause for concern.
“There’s no injury,” Ranieri said while speaking in a television interview after the game. “Just that he was tired, maybe a little cramp, and then I changed him in just the last minute to give more support to the midfield.”
Riyad Mahrez will certainly have a blockbuster of a highlights reel to show at the end of this season and the goal in 56th minute which decided the gripping contest with Watford is sure to feature. It also deserves a prominent place in any future film commemorating Leicester’s most likely first top-flight title.
The much needed victory however leaves Leciester five points clear of Tottenham and the rest of the title contenders in the Premier League. Ranieri is also happy to see the Foxes were able to dictate their superiority at Watford.
“Important win, big battle. We knew that, but now there will be only battle, for everbody, not only us,” he said. “It was a tough match. Of course we wanted to win. And we created four, five chances — one we scored — and they created two or three.
“It was an open match that both teams wanted to win, and we are so happy now.
“We want to show what we have inside. The desire is so high. We have a great opportunity, but we know the way is very long, is very tough.”
Leicester’s next two fixtures are against struggling Newcastle and Crystal Palace, with matches against Sunderland and Swansea still remaining on their nine-game run-in, but Ranieri made the point very clear that the state of their opponents will not at all matter as teams are fighting hard to avoid relegation.
“The title is not ours. We have to fight again, a lot, step by step. We have to maintain our feet on the ground, and continue to fight, and just at the end we can say what happened,” he said.
“Every match is this way. Every team can win or lose because a lot of teams are fighting to remain in the Premier League.”
Ranieri did admit he appreciates the support of neutral fans who are now backing Leicester to win the unlikeliest of trophies.
“Yeah, I feel this because a lot of people stop me on the way, and say how, ‘If I can’t win I want Leicester to win the title.’ Thank you,” he said. “There is good energy behind us and we must continue with this energy.”