Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has told his side to revel in their success so far this term after last season’s struggle to avoid relegation from the lucrative Premier League.
The Foxes head into this weekend’s round of fixtures a surprise second in the table, with Arsenal at the top of the standings on goal difference alone.
Wednesday saw Leicester beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 and maintain a push for the Premier League title that not even the Foxes’ most ardent fans could have predicted at the start of the campaign.
It is all a far cry from last season when a dramatic run of seven wins in their last nine games under former manager Nigel Pearson saw Leicester beat the drop after spending much of the time in the relegation zone.
Ranieri, speaking ahead of his side’s trip across the Midlands to bottom of the table Aston Villa, said Friday: “This is a young team and because last season was about fighting for survival they know the bitter taste of fighting at the bottom.
“Now they taste the cake at the top of the table and the difference is very high.
“I try to motivate my players but it’s important they have the right mentality,” the Italian added. “I want to see our performance and, after, the result is not important for me.
“I told my players ‘you fight’ — afterwards we look at which mistake you made and then we look at it in training,” the former Chelsea manager explained.
With Arsenal not in action again until Sunday, a point at Villa Park on Saturday would see Leicester regain top spot in the table.
Villa, however, ended their 19-match winless run with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Tuesday and Ranieri said: “I know now there is another tough match, perhaps tougher than Tottenham.
“Villa are a good team and I remember the first game and how difficult it was to beat them (Leicester won 3-2 after being 2-0 down). They have won their last match and are now confident.”