A year ago, there was the real prospect that Leicester City will be playing this season in the Championship, English football’s second tier. The Foxes survived relegation under Nigel Pearson and it was considered a miracle fightback. At the start of this current campaign, Claudio Raineri was appointed as Pearson’s replacement. The latter was fired after falling out with Leicester’s Thai owners.
Ranieri changed the team dramatically ever since he arrived. Not only has City become genuine Premier League title contenders, but history would have to conspire against them not to be in next season’s Uefa Champions League. This is remarkable considering where the club was a year ago.
Theodore ” Ted” Dumitru, a former Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns coach, possesses one of the great football brains in South Africa. Dumitru strongly believes that Leicester has gained the winning formula and that is the best reason they have remained consistent all season long. The Romanian says: ‘Basically in modern football there is a football winning formula. For any coach to create this, he must start with monitoring and stimulating the level of the players’ competitiveness and reinforcing a positive, enthusiastic attitude as well as perseverance, mood and emotional stress control.’
The former Bafana Bafana caretaker boss also pointed out that the club has kept the same starting eleven throughout most of the season which contributes more to their recent form: ‘I’m not a fan of team rotation. For a team to reach and maintain winning form the line-up must not significantly change to accommodate players who aren’t in top competitive form. For example, players who are playing irregularly, once every three to four weeks, cannot provide form consistency to the team. Also, the rotation should not be used to replace more than two regular players in any match. Competitive winning form is difficult and highly sensitive to the team’s performance and should be handled in advance and with precise coaching skills.’
Dumitru believes that the winning formula is different all across the various leagues but it will take time for English clubs to become as enticing as Spanish and German teams. He says: ‘English football clubs are full of different players, who play different football. They speak different languages, have different beliefs and come from different development ranks constructed with different philosophies. Unlike in Spain, where you find South American players speaking Spanish.’
Leicester still face some tricky fixtures against Chelsea and Manchester United but Dumitru believes they deserves to be crowned champions come the end of the season. He also hailed the contribution from the likes of Jamie Vardy, Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez aided with the qualities of experienced manager Raineri.