Tuesday May 10 2016
Ranieri: 'My tactics, explained'

Claudio Ranieri describes the tactical history behind Leicester City: 'We play at the speed of light'.

The Foxes' triumph in the Premier League is often compared to Atletico Madrid's remarkable campaign in the Champions League this year.

Some have drawn parallels between Ranieri and Colchoneros Coach Diego Simeone, but the Tinkerman was reluctant to touch that subject.

"It's not for me to judge these things, and as for Simeone, all I can say is that he plays like an Italian,” Ranieri told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “You can talk about [Johann] Cruyff and [Arrigo] Sacchi, but the Italian style is not to be meddled with either.

“There is no such thing as a winning system. If a Coach feels like he is at comfort with one particular set-up, why change it? In Valencia, in the late 90s, they wanted me to play the tiki taka. It already existed back then.

“But I told the directors: 'You signed the wrong Coach, I don't like to keep the ball'. I was sure they'd kick me out. But they showed me trust, because my boys used to run like the wind.

“Of course, some wanted us to be like Rivaldo and [Luis] Figo's Barcelona, but I explained: 'We produce the same number of shots and crosses as they do, they can keep the ball for all I care'.

“Today, some complain that Leicester lose too many balls. But that's only natural, when your team plays at the speed of light. Spectators like us because we create many scoring chances.

“I give my strikers freedom to attack and cut across the lines, as long as we immediately return to a 4-4-2 as soon as the ball is lost. I always tell them: 'Remember that I am Italian, we must know how to defend before anything else'.”

Ranieri was then asked to describe the tactical history behind his surprisingly successful team.

"Last year they played with three men at the back and I thought I'd gradually change that to a four-man defence.

“Then I watched the friendlies and I realised we were struggling against lower category teams, so I switched immediately.

“I wanted to hand the keys of the attack to our top scorer, [Leonardo] Ulloa, but since he was struggling to get into shape, I went with [Shinji] Okazaki and [Jamie] Vardy and told them: 'I want you to play like you're jet fighters'.

“And they did that, against the bulky defenders of the Premier League. Not to mention that I have Kante in the midfield. I've never seen anyone run like that, he won't rest even if I tell him to.

"Prince William? I'm glad he supported me, although he'll be sorry that his club Aston Villa were relegated.

“At the end of every game, even the tightest, the rival Coach would tell me: 'Well done, you deserve to win the title.' And I told the team: 'We must do as mountain climbers, who look above and never below, lest we get dizzy and fall back down.”