Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri believes it is “now or never” for the Foxes to win the Premier League title.
The league leaders have enjoyed a remarkable campaign and are five points clear of Tottenham with four games remaining. They host Swansea on Sunday.
They are already guaranteed a top-three finish and Champions League football next season, and Ranieri say his focus is now on winning the title.
“It is this year or never more,” he told BBC sports editor Dan Roan.
“We achieved the Champions League – a great achievement for everyone but now we try to win the title with all our strength, all our heart, our soul, everything.
“We need eight points and we are champions, and we try to do this. I said to my players that now is the right moment to push.”
It is the first time Ranieri has admitted Leicester could win the title, having deflected questions on the subject since Christmas.
Sir Clive Woodward, who coached the England rugby team to their only World Cup victory in 2003, said on Twitter that he felt Ranieri had made a “big error” in talking about the title.
“Never speak about anything but your next game, next game is all that you ever talk about, players will be listening,” he tweeted.
In a wide-ranging interview, Ranieri added:
- He expects Tottenham to win all four of their remaining games.
- He is not worried about losing players and wants only ‘happy’ players with him.
- Says there is no secret to his side’s success this season.
- Believes they can cope without suspended striker Jamie Vardy.
- Says friendship between the players has been key.
- Wants Robert de Niro to play him in a film about Leicester’s season.
‘No pressure, only enjoyment’
Leicester’s closest challengers Tottenham have won their past two games, beating Manchester United 3-0 and then winning 4-0 at Stoke.
It has enabled them to close the gap on Ranieri’s side after they dropped points against West Ham last weekend, drawing 2-2.
Ranieri, though, insisted he and his players were not feeling the pressure.
He said: “When I managed in Italy, you can’t believe the kind of pressure you have there. It’s not pressure here. I enjoy here.”