Saturday marks the start of the 2016/17 Premier League season and the very first match is between Hull City and Leicester City at the KC Stadium.
With this game brings the beginning of the Foxes' defence of their extraordinary Premier League title victory and Claudio Ranieri's attitude hasn't changed ever since the start of last season. For the first time since the end of May, the Italian faced the country's media in the build-up to a league match. Although, this isn't the Foxes' first taste of competitive football this season as they were beaten by a late Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal in the Community Shield against Manchester United.
The message that the former Chelsea boss was clear to put across was for the Leicester players and fans alike to not get carried away after last campaign's incredible success. This message was heavily maintained by Ranieri throughout last season even when the Premier League trophy was within touching distance.
"We're very concentrated and want to play our game"
The Leicester boss was quick to warn his listeners that his side's first game of the season would be no walk in the park saying the Tigers "will want to show their best". Again, this is something that the English press will be used to with Ranieri as he always makes sure to show the other team respect. This is seen as a good tactical decision as it means that he won't end up with egg on his face. Although, after saying this he expressed that his team will go about their business without worrying too much about the opposition's game plan. He highlighted the concentration of his players saying that they're more than comfortable to play their own game. He also added that there were no injuries and that all of his players are ready to go when they visit Hull.
"It's important to forget last season and build our squad"
Ranieri made it clear that he was keen for himself and his team to put last season's triumph behind them and carry on with this season as if it never happened. When questioned about his excitement towards being Premier League champions, he said "I was excited" and went on to say that he's no longer excited but focused on the upcoming season. The former Greece manager's clear view on not getting carried away was imperative last season as his calmness amongst the media throughout was passed through to his team.
The fact that he wants to continue building his squad shows that he wants to achieve further greatness in the next four years as the manager of Leicester City. His subdued approach to being top of the league last season started to frustrate Foxes fans as they wanted to see him getting excited about the possibility of defying the odds, but his grounded approach proved vital in his side's success at the back of of the season.
"Our target is 40 points"
A phrase that everyone involved with Leicester will be sick of hearing by now, the magical 40 point aim. When the Foxes surpassed the manager's 40 point target before the end of the calendar year, he simply just doubled his expectation. His consistency with maintaining such an aim relieved a lot of the title pressure from his team and onto the challenging teams.
Ranieri was also keen to point out the "big teams are ready to fight for the title" this season as it was in their absence that his team enjoyed so much success last term. This is one of the factors that he was eager to express when saying that their title hopes were at "6000/1", an even slimmer chance than the 5000/1 odds that they defeated last season. Although, he was quick to add that they're "ready to defend" the title.
"We have less pressure than last season"
Even though he said that his team's chances of defending their title are even slimmer than they were this time last campaign, he commented on the lack of pressure in comparison to last season. The lower amount of pressure is because of the fact that it was him who lifted the Premier League title in May. If they had failed to win the league, his side would certainly be feeling more pressure heading into the new campaign. He added that his side would need to be "clever" if they were to retain their title due to the different factors they'll encounter this season. The changes in the dugouts of the so-called 'big' teams will make for a different season as well as the changes in personnel for those teams.
The media and the Foxes faithful will be happy to see Ranieri back doing regular press conferences and will be waiting to see what tricks he's got up his sleeve for the later matches. Although the Foxes are massive favourites going into Saturday's clash, the Italian has always stayed humble and grounded, an approach that didn't do too badly last season.