Claudio Ranieri says 40-point mark is Leicester City target this season

Claudio Ranieri insists 40 points is still the target for Leicester in the Premier League, despite the Foxes currently occupying top spot

Claudio Ranieri says Leicester can mount a title challenge in years to come, but insists the objective this season is 40 points.

City are top of the Premier League table with 28 points after 13 games, having won eight and lost just once to Arsenal during 90 minutes in all competitions this season.

Sitting a point clear of Manchester United, who they face this weekend live on Sky Sports, Leicester are surprise challengers after needing a late surge of positive results to avoid relegation last term.

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While expectations are rising all around him, manager Ranieri is adamant their aim for this campaign has not changed, despite Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger suggesting their were serious contenders.

"He's joking," said Ranieri. "Thank you to Arsene, but Arsene knows very well the truth. It is open, it's very strange but our goal is 40 points. You all sound very curious these days to watch my team.

Arsene Wenger oversaw an improved second-half display from Arsenal at Swansea
Image: Arsene Wenger thinks Leicester are genuine contenders for the Premier League title

"I am confident, of course. I am the manager but I am very curious how we respond in these big matches from now. I can't understand people at the moment who say Leicester can stay at the top but this week I am happy for my fans because they enjoy it a lot, this situation.

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"I think we are building a very good construction. I believe next year, Leicester, will slowly grow up and compete at the very top. This is our project.

Leicester's Shinji Okazaki and Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal compete for the ball
Image: Leicester's only Premier League defeat this season came as they were beaten 5-2 by Arsenal in September

"We know very well sooner or later we will lose but this is not our problem. Our problem is to show our character. The spirit in our group, I think, is strong. Our goal, at the moment, is this: let me see the next two months and then maybe I change the goal."

Ranieri, meanwhile, is confident Leicester can fend off any interest in Jamie Vardy during the forthcoming transfer window.

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri congratulates Jamie Vardy during the game at Newcastle
Image: Ranieri is hopeful Leicester will be able to match striker Jamie Vardy's ambitions

Striker Vardy could break the record for scoring in consecutive Premier League games against United.

He drew level with former Old Trafford forward Ruud van Nistelrooy's current mark of 10 successive matches when he netted in last weekend's 3-0 win at Newcastle.

Ranieri believes Leicester can match the player's ambitions, adding: "At the moment, Jamie Vardy is very happy with us."

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