Claudio Ranieri says Leicester's big-spending rivals must be nervous

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri
Image: Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri was in an upbeat mood after the victory at Watford

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has raised the stakes in the battle for the Premier League title by claiming the Foxes' big-spending rivals will now feel the pressure.

Ranieri's side moved five points clear of Tottenham and eight ahead of Arsenal after securing a 1-0 victory at Watford thanks Riyad Mahrez's superb 56th-minute strike.

While Spurs are bidding for their first league title in more than half a century, Arsenal's expensively-assembled squad already appear to be wilting under the expectancy of ending their 12-year championship drought.

Manchester City, who signed Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne for nearly £100m last summer, are 10 points behind.

Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City scores
Image: Riyad Mahrez scores Leicester's winner at Watford

"We are not nervous, our job is done and our job was to save the team," said Ranieri. "This is an amazing season for us and everything we achieve is something more.

"The others must be nervous, the others spend a lot of money to win the title. We have to build slowly, slowly.

Claudio Ranieri insists Leicester must regard every game as a final following their 1-0 win at Watford and with just nine games remaining of the season

"This year is a crazy season for us, for everybody and we are happy and we have to enjoy. We know very well this is a strange chance that we have but we want to fight and then nobody can say 'we were nervous'. No. We are focused and everything could happen."

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Leicester now have more than a week to prepare for the visit of struggling Newcastle to the King Power Stadium next Monday.

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"The key of the season was from the beginning when there was a good link, and a good feeling between me and the players, the fans, the staff and the owners," said Ranieri, who was appointed in the summer after Nigel Pearson's departure.

"The target was to save the team, and it is important that you are reminded what our target was. When we got to 39 points at the end of the first part of the season I said 'I want to improve. Now I want to do 40'.

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"When I arrive at 79, maybe I want to arrive at 80, 81. I don't know? But now our focus is on Newcastle."

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