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Leicester City coach Claudio Ranieri downplays Barcelona slump: "Losing three games is not a crisis"

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Claudio Ranieri is reaching the end of the most incredible season of his managerial career, as the Italian has led Leicester City to an improbable Premier League title chase, and the Foxes are just four games away from making history.

One would think Ranieri is so focused on his team that he isn't following football as he'd do in a normal season. But the Leicester boss is still aware of what's going on, including Barcelona's incredible slump in the last few weeks. The Catalans have lost three games in a row, were knocked out of the Champions League and are dangerously close to giving up their La Liga lead.

This poor run of form has been over-analyzed by everyone, and many are overreacting and saying this team is sinking into a deep crisis. Claudio Ranieri is not one of those people. In an interview with Diario Sport (note: it was done prior to the game against Valencia, which Barça lost as well), the Italian spoke about Barça's current moment, and is positive the Blaugrana remain the world's best team and are in great position to win the league, if they know how to handle the pressure.

Here's a look at Ranieri's interview:

Does Barcelona's bad moment surprise you?

"I don't know it in great detail, but you can't doubt Barcelona. How can you do that to a team who won everything last year? They have an extraordinary team."

They are crossing the worst run of results in recent memory...

"We're talking about a team that won it all last season and not so long ago we were saying were the example for everybody. Things can't end so quickly."

So you don't think it's a crisis?

"Crisis? To lose against Real Madrid or Real Sociedad is not a crisis. The Champions League? Atletico have a great team too, with a lot of spirit. They knew how to win, that's it."

But the month has seen Barcelona nose-dive.

"During a season all teams go through ruts in play and results. Barcelona's problem is that it's happning at the worst moment, when the definitive time in the title fight draws near."

Knocked out of the Champions League, they are almost without margin for error in La Liga...

"Yes. And what we've seen too is that Atletico and Madrid weren't as bad as they said. Not so far off. They had bad moments and now this is happening to Barcelona, they've known how to be there."

You said that Barcelona is a great team. Do they depend too much on the forwards?

"Messi is an out-of-the-ordinary footballer. He's extraordinary because he knows how to do everything well, in any situation and moment. But the footballers are men, not machines. If at his side he has players like Suarez and Neymar, it's normal that they are the part of the team that stands out."

The key is to maintain calm in moments like this?

"Definitely. Keep calm and keep what you've been thinking. If you have an idea and it's given you results, it will give you results again. If you see that doesn't happen, you change."

Have you had to change?

"I've always adapted to all the team's I've managed. Valencia were electric and we ran a lot, with fast, vertical play. The year we were semi-finalists in the Champions League with Chelsea, according to UEFA statistics we were the team with the best position, with Monaco we came up and we were second the next year with the best points in history, behind PSG, and with more patient play. Third with Juventus in the first year after coming up with positional play, like with Inter."

Has Luis Enrique adapted more to Barcelona or the other way around?

"With the players he has he's installed a play that's maybe more fast and direct. Transitions with less passes, but keeping the spirit of Barcelona."

Do you keep them as favorites for La Liga?

"Barcelona are first, so they depend on themselves. They have pressure, but they have the advantage. They have to handle it."

Source: Diario Sport

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