Why were Leicester champions in 2016? Ranieri reveals the formula
The Italian Claudio Ranieri, the current Sampdoria coach and the man who led Leicester to the Premier League title in 2016, said he was proud to have won what he did in England and mentioned the psychological techniques he used to prepare his players physically and mentally.
The Sampdoria coach since October 2019 is in Italy and is feeling the effects of the coronavirus lockdown. He gave an interview last thing on Monday night to 'Sky Sport' to talk about the league title he won with Leicester.
"Dedramatise" is the word used by Ranieri to sum up the mental work he carried out with his players to prevent the pressure getting to them week by week when they were leading the way above many top sides.
"It was important the guys did not feel too much responsilbiity. I was frightened the pressure could get to them because they were a team whose aim was to stay up and at that moment in time, they were fighting with the big guns," Ranieri said.
"So I wanted to set them small goals, little by little. First avoid relegation, then fight for Europe and then finally for the title. I did it like this until the end, I always wanted to take the pressure off them," he continued.
He also talked about one of his most surprising decisions when his team were going well at the top. After beating Arsenal in week 25, he gave his players a week off.
"We played against three big clubs consecutively, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal, and as a joke, the players asked me for a week off depending on the amount of points we got. In the end, Vardy said to me that if we got nine points, they deserved a week's rest," Ranieri said.
"We beat Liverpool 2-0, City 3-1, but lost 2-1 to Arsenal after playing the second half with 10 and conceding a goal in the 95th minute.In the end, I saidto them that the result was due to many factors, but I said to them 'go home, for me it's as if you'd won it'. And I gave them a week's holiday," Ranieri confirmed.
A decision which was made to look good because Leicester, who stayed up on the last day of the previous season, became Premier League champions.
"I'm glad for the people who came. I remember I got letters from all over the world. There were Italians who were travelling to Leicester, even without being able to go to the stadium. They came to take part in the city's celebrations," Ranieri recalled.