Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho has hailed Leicester City’s Italian manager Claudio Ranieri as the brain behind the Foxes incredible push for the Premier League title this season.
The former Chelsea manager replaced Nigel Pearson in the off-season, which raised eyebrows in some quarters following a torrid spell in charge of the Greece national team.
However, he has produced a turn around from a team that battled relegation last season to the team that is fighting for the Premier League title for the first time in their history.
“I think the difference about … Leicester this year compared to last year was the coach that they hired,” he told Omnisport.
“He is an experienced coach, who has lived many things in football and I think that was the main difference.
“They were a team that were struggling to not fall last season and this year, [heading into] the end of the championship with a realistic chance for the title. In my opinion was the coach who organised the tactical part.
“Moreover, they have two or three outstanding players and a very solid defence. That’s why he could do it with a great mastery. If Leicester can be an English champion, as everyone is expecting it to be, it will be in a deserved way because they were the team that kept a high performance throughout the league.
“If we have to compare the budget of Leicester with the five or six top teams in the Premier League, of course it is different, but you know that all Premier League teams they have a very good pay, where they can hire great players and organise a really good team.”
Fernandinho was in the Manchester City side that slumped to a 3-1 home defeat to Leicester in February, a result which gave further credence to the Foxes’ title ambitions.
“It was a game that … how can I explain?” he said. “It was a bit hard for us because we suffer two very quick goals in first minutes of the second half and it killed any power of reaction we could have.
“And beyond that, their coach is the Italian school that always gives priority to marking and defence, then it became more difficult for us. Hopefully we can learn a lesson from this defeat.”
Manchester City are currently placed fourth on the Premier League log with Leicester City are top with five games left to the end of the season.