Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has asked Arsenal not to give him a rude awakening when the Premier League leaders visit the Emirates Stadium on 14 February. Leicester's amazing tilt at a first league title is turning doubters into believers and their convincing 3-1 defeat of Manchester City in their last league outing led to them being installed as title favourites by the bookmakers. The question now hanging over Leicester's season is whether they have the experience to handle the pressure of a title run-in, but Ranieri insists their rivals have more to worry about.
"This time I hope the bookmakers are right. They're just words though, not points. Give me points," the Italian told reporters at another light-hearted press conference in Leicester on 12 February. "The pressure is on the others. Tell me why we have pressure? Why must I feel pressure? We just continue to dream with our fans. Nobody wake us up please!"
Ranieri is clearly relishing Leicester's position, just a year after the club were fighting a relegation battle. "If Leicester is top of the league, that means no easy match in the Premier League, and I think it is a very interesting Premier League so far, and we want to fight to maintain this level. The interest is fantastic – look how many journalists are here. Why? Because of what has happened, that's it. A great story and then, why the pressure? There is no pressure, let's enjoy," he said.
Leicester's worst moment of the season so far came when they lost 5-2 at home to Arsenal in the reverse fixture last September, but Ranieri was keen to remind Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that he had beaten him on a previous occasion when he managed Chelsea to a 2-1 win at Arsenal in a Champions League quarter-final in 2004.
"He make mistake, he make mistake! The last time I met him, I won 2-1 in Champions League quarter-final!" laughed Ranieri. "I remember. And I tell him Sunday: 'You forgot, when you lose you forgot!'"