Claudio Ranieri: Premier League title race still open, says Leicester boss

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Newcastle will be safe - Ranieri

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri insists the Premier League title race is not a straight fight between his side and Tottenham.

The Foxes are five points clear at the top with eight games left after beating Newcastle 1-0 on Monday.

Tottenham lie second, with Arsenal 11 points behind the leaders and fourth-placed Manchester City 12 off the pace.

Asked if only Leicester or Spurs could be champions, Italian Ranieri, 64, responded: "No, the race is open."

He added: "There are so many people who are dreaming, but we have to continue to work hard.

"I want to fight every match. Now our concentration is about Crystal Palace, another difficult match. We will go to battle there."

The Foxes need 20 points from their last eight games to win the title.

Former Leicester midfielder Robbie Savage thinks his old club will come out on top and has written off the chances of Arsenal and Manchester City.

Shinji Okazaki
Shinji Okazaki scored with Leicester's only shot on target against Newcastle

"It's ridiculous to think of Leicester being so far ahead," he told BBC Radio 5 live. "It's a two-horse race, no doubt about it.

"You can't rule out Spurs, but City and Arsenal have no chance of winning it now. You can't see them winning four or five in a row."

Former Wales international Savage said the current Foxes team was better than the one he played in under Martin O'Neill.

That side won the League Cup in 1997 and 2000, securing qualification for the now defunct Uefa Cup.

They also finished in the Premier League's top 10 for four straight seasons from 1997 to 2000.

"This team is easily better," said Savage of the current side. "If they win it, I believe this is the greatest football achievement we've ever seen."

Remaining fixtures
Crystal Palace (a)Bournemouth (h)
Southampton (h)Liverpool (a)
Sunderland (a)Man Utd (h)
West Ham (h)Stoke (a)
Swansea (h)West Brom (h)
Man Utd (a)Chelsea (a)
Everton (h)Southampton (h)
Chelsea (a)Newcastle (a)

It has been rare in the Premier League era for a team to have such a big lead in the closing stages of the season and not win the title.

In 1997-98, Manchester United were six points clear of eventual champions Arsenal after they had played 33 games, but the Gunners had three games in hand.

Four years ago, Sir Alex Ferguson's team lost an eight-point cushion to Manchester City in the final six games of the season.

Two seasons ago, Liverpool were five points clear of second-placed Chelsea with three games to play only for Manchester City to win the title.

Premier League champions' points totals
The average points total for champions over last 10 seasons is 87.4
2013-14Man City86
2012-13Man Utd89
2011-12Man City89
2010-11Man Utd80
2008-09Man Utd90
2007-08Man Utd87
2006-07Man Utd89

'We're going to win the league'

Michael, a Leicester fan on the 5 live Social: "We're going to win the league. I'm a teacher at a prep school near Leicester and now the kids are arguing about who wants to play for Leicester.

"They want to be Leicester - they don't want to be Arsenal or Manchester United. I've never seen anything like it. It's absolutely fantastic."

Alex Storey on Twitter: It's actually just hit me... Leicester will play the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich next season.

Champion Opeyemi: Irrespective of whether Barca win another treble, Leicester and Ranieri has to be the world club and manager of the year.

Gavin Harris: Did Roy of the Rovers wear Leicester City pyjamas? He must have, right? Biggest upset ever in British football if they win

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