Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri ready for relegation battle
The critics have battered Claudio Ranieri and his title-holders, suggesting they are unwilling to scrap to save their top-flight status less than a year after conquering all.
The reached fever pitch last Sunday's 3-0 home defeat by Manchester United, which left Ranieri's Leicester just a point clear of the Premier League relegation zone.
But ahead of today's crunch trip to fellow strugglers Swansea, the Italian has hit back at the snipers.
The Italian is adamant both he and his squad possess what it takes to dig themselves out of trouble.
Ranieri helped Parma avoid relegation from Serie A
He may never have tasted relegation as a coach but, having endured some scares, Ranieri knows what it takes to survive.
The manager, whose Foxes are level with Swansea on 21 points, said: "If you look at my career, you'll see it's not all about trying to win trophies. I've had relegation battles.
"When I was at Cagliari and we reached Serie A, we were down near the bottom of the table and were saved right at the end.
"And after my time at Chelsea and Valencia, I was back in Italy at Parma. We were also at the bottom and were only saved one day before the season finished.
Leicester take on Paul Clement's Swansea at the Liberty Stadium (4pm)
"My career is always up and down but my memories of relegation are all positive."
Those words are sure to boost the mood of the worried Leicester faithful – as will Ranieri's promise that his flops are finally coming to terms with their lowly position.
Jamie Vardy and co are through to the last 16 in both the Champions League and FA Cup but have failed to click in an appalling title defence.
"Last season it was about maintaining calm," said Ranieri, 65, who received a vote of confidence from the club's owners last week.
"This year I have to push a lot to give them confidence and remind them that they are very good players."
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Meanwhile, Swansea striker Jordan Ayew reckons the Welsh strugglers could be safe within a month.
Since Clement replaced Bob Bradley as manager in the New Year, the Swans have hit superb form.
Wins over Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Southampton lifted them out of drop zone – and level on points with today's visitors Leicester.
And Ayew, 25, signed from Aston Villa last month, said: "We just need to continue this way and there'll be no problem us staying in the Premier League.
"Now we have three or four games against teams fighting relegation. In a month or so, we may be in a very good position."Swans 'to stay safe'