Harry Red­knapp’s ver­dict

Some Le­ices­ter fans think they have won the ti­tle but there will be more twists to come

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - FRONT PAGE - HARRY RED­KNAPP

Hold your horses, boys – the ti­tle is far from over

Judg­ing by the scenes at full time in Le­ices­ter yes­ter­day it is clear that some of their sup­port­ers think they have al­ready won the league. They reckon that with a sev­en­point lead they can­not be caught, and that the Premier League can start putting blue and white rib­bons on the tro­phy.

Well I am afraid it is not that sim­ple – this ti­tle race is not over, not by a long chalk.

At the mo­ment, Le­ices­ter are do­ing just enough to win. Each of their last four games has ended 1-0, but grind­ing out a re­sult week af­ter week is so hard to do.

They have also got a re­ally tough run of games com­ing up, and I would not be at all sur­prised if

their lead is cut to just four points by this time next week.

On pa­per their trip to the Sta­dium of Light looks sim­ple enough, but at this stage of the sea­son I can­not think of many tougher teams to play than a Sun­der­land side fight­ing for their lives. They are ab­so­lutely des­per­ate for points and Sam Al­lardyce will have them well pre­pared.

Sun­der­land seem to have been writ­ten off, too, and I re­ally do not know why. They were ex­cel­lent against West Brom and re­ally should have won that game.

The ti­tle race may well come down to the fi­nal day and I think the rel­e­ga­tion fight def­i­nitely will.

I would not like to call which two of New­cas­tle, Nor­wich and Sun­der­land will join As­ton Villa in the Cham­pi­onship, I re­ally would not.

The stakes are huge for both teams. Le­ices­ter will be do­ing re­ally well to win that game, and I would not be shocked if they come un­stuck. If they do and their lead is down to four points then the heat re­ally will be on.

Claudio Ranieri will be telling his play­ers that it is all to play for, too. He will know that Spurs and Arse­nal will be look­ing to strike at any sign of weak­ness, and I think both north Lon­don clubs are still in the hunt. Arse­nal are a long way back, but there is no rea­son they can­not win ev­ery sin­gle one of their games to put the heat on. Tot­ten­ham are still most likely to chal­lenge, though, and they looked good in their draw against Liver­pool. They can go on a run, that’s for sure.

I was also de­lighted to see Harry Kane score again. He has now scored more Premier League goals in a sin­gle sea­son than any other Tot­ten­ham player in his­tory, and I re­mem­ber how some pun­dits wrote him off as a one-sea­son won­der. I thought that was so stupid. He is clearly the real deal and de­serves all the suc­cess he is hav­ing. He lives for football and Tot­ten­ham are so lucky to have him – and they need him if they are to over­haul Le­ices­ter.

But if Kane is im­por­tant for Tot­ten­ham then Wes Mor­gan is dou­bly so for Le­ices­ter. He was im­mense yes­ter­day, as he has been all sea­son. I re­mem­ber watch­ing him when he first came through at Not­ting­ham For­est and think­ing he was good enough then to play in the Premier League.

He has had to bide his time to get there but he is show­ing ev­ery­one that he be­longs at this level. Claudio cer­tainly knows his value to Le­ices­ter, and their suc­cess has been built on the partnership be­tween Mor­gan and Robert Huth at the back.

That said, I did not envy Claudio one lit­tle bit dur­ing those last 20 min­utes yes­ter­day. Don’t get me wrong, he is hav­ing the sea­son of his life – and he must be pinch­ing him­self when he re­mem­bers he was drummed out of his last job with Greece af­ter los­ing to the Faroe Is­lands – but the stress of watch­ing the clock tick down is one ev­ery man­ager knows all too well.

If you are one goal ahead the clock just doesn’t move. If you are los­ing it feels like it is go­ing at 100 miles per hour. The last 20 min­utes of yes­ter­day’s match must have felt like an eter­nity for Claudio. You kick ev­ery ball, and his play­ers kept giv­ing away silly free-kicks that al­lowed Southamp­ton to pump the ball into the box, which ab­so­lutely does your head in as a man­ager.

When he got back to the dress­ing room Claudio would have been calm­ing them down, though.

He knows Le­ices­ter will never have a bet­ter chance of win­ning the ti­tle than this. Chelsea, Manch­ester United and Manch­ester City will be a lot bet­ter next sea­son.

This is Le­ices­ter’s chance, and they are in a po­si­tion that no one ever thought pos­si­ble. With the ex­cep­tion of north Lon­don, ev­ery­one in the en­tire coun­try is will­ing them over the line, des­per­ate for the un­der­dogs to beat the big boys – some­thing I did not think would hap­pen again in the Premier League.

But they are not there yet. If Southamp­ton was tough then Sun­der­land will be even tougher.

It is not over, that’s for sure.

If Ranieri thought Southamp­ton was tough then just wait un­til they go up to play Sun­der­land

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