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Published: 14:42 | 10/2/16

Ranieri: Our plans won't change

Claudio Ranieri admits Leicester are having a strange year but he is determined to build on what they have achieved this season.

The Foxes narrowly avoided relegation last season under former manager Nigel Pearson, winning seven of their final nine games last season to retain their Premier League status, but less than a year later they find themselves five points clear at the top of the table.

Ranieri was tasked with rebuilding the club when he was appointed manager in the summer and he insists his objectives are unchanged despite emerging as genuine title contenders.

"When I signed, our objective was clear - to build this team, gradually bringing it to the top spots," Ranieri told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.

"We know we're having a strange year, we're doing well because the big teams haven't found their rhythm, but our plans won't change next year beyond what happens at the end of this season.

"We must continue to build to target, in the next three or four years, the top spots in the Premier League and fighting for the Europa League.

"If we do all this in advance in one year we mustn't applaud ourselves, next year we'll start again from scratch."

Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have been in unstoppable form this season, scoring 32 Premier League goals between them, and Ranieri has paid tribute to his players.

"This year Mahrez has given us incredible magic," Ranieri said. "Technically I don't know who he resembles, he has immense quality and is our reference point: when we need to create, we give the ball to him.

"Vardy on the other hand has a unique characteristic, he runs at 1,000 miles an hour and always at the same speed."

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