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English Premiership

Ranieri says Leicester are up for the fight

     Leicester City's manager Claudio Ranieri holds the ball on the touchline during an English Premier League football match against West Bromwich Albion on March 1, 2016

Leicester City’s manager Claudio Ranieri holds the ball on the touchline during an English Premier League football match against West Bromwich Albion on March 1, 2016

UNITED KINGDOM, March 2 – Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri said his side were ready to fight for the Premier League title after the setback of a 2-2 home draw against West Bromwich Albion.

Ranieri’s men missed the chance to extend their lead to five points as they were held by West Brom on Tuesday and, in doing so, handed encouragement to their title rivals.

But Ranieri insists their spirit remains undimmed as they prepare for the final 10 games of the season, starting with Saturday’s trip to Watford.

And he says he is more confident now, after seeing his side rattle the crossbar twice against West Brom, than after the thrilling, last-gasp 1-0 win over Norwich City in their previous game.

“It was a fantastic match and I am very pleased with our performance,” said the Italian.

“It was just the goal that was missing, but we created a lot of chances. We were a little unlucky, but I am more confident than after the game against Norwich.

“Against Norwich we won the game at the end, but we created very few chances. In this game we created a lot of chances, but we drew the match.

“It is OK. Four points from two difficult matches, it is fantastic. We are alive and our spirit is ready to fight again.

“I am happy, not that we didn’t get the three points — you can’t always get the three points — (but) our performance was fantastic.

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“Of course the players were not so happy, but I told my players that we are alive and we made a fantastic performance. Now they must focus on Watford.”

Ranieri said before the game with West Brom that his side were underdogs for the title despite leading the table for several weeks.

And he believes dropping two points against West Brom makes his side even bigger outsiders.

– Pulis a Leicester fan -“I think there is Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City who fight for the title,” he said.

“And then there is little Leicester who fight against them. I want people to remember where we started.

“We are confident. We try to do our best. In this game we were not so lucky, but perhaps in the last 10 matches we will be. Why not? Be positive.”

Leicester have a new supporter for the final 10 games of their shock title challenge after winning over Tony Pulis.

The West Brom head coach saw his side frustrate Leicester by taking the lead through Salomon Rondon and then equalising through Craig Gardner’s superb free-kick after Danny Drinkwater and Andy King had given Leicester a 2-1 half-time lead.

Pulis’s side have seven points from their last three Premier League games.

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He said: “Leicester City are in some ways an old-fashioned team, the way they play. They play through the pitch quickly, they get the balls wide and they get bodies in the box. They play really exciting football.

“The way the team is set up, the balance of the team, the enthusiasm, the commitment they give, every Leicester City supporter should be proud of their team.

“They’re fantastic — their effort, their energy. They never stop. We’ve done brilliant. It’s a fantastic point for us, but now the game’s over, I just hope Leicester City win the league.

“I am supporting Leicester from now until the end of the season, apart from West Bromwich Albion.

“If they can get the breaks going their way — and that’s what you need sometimes in football — then keep going, and keep believing, hopefully they can do it.”

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