Leicester City 1, Southampton 0
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri admits his team may never get a better chance to complete a “magical” Premier League triumph after they took another huge step towards the title.
Captain Wes Morgan’s first goal of the season earned the Foxes a fifth 1-0 win from the last six games and increased their lead at the top of the table to seven points with six games remaining.
Victory over Southampton ensured they capitalised on second-placed Tottenham’s failure to beat Liverpool on Saturday and means that 12 more points – four wins – will guarantee them a first top-flight crown in their 132-year history.
“I am very calm. We believe in what we are doing, we believe it’s a magical season and believe next season won’t be the same,” said Ranieri.
“We try to do our best. Other teams can win 3-0, 4-0. We have to fight to win 1-0. We must be focused in our way. It was a good answer to the Premier League because now everybody is waiting for us after the Liverpool-Tottenham draw. We gave a very good answer.”
Ranieri savoured a perfect way to celebrate the birthday of Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who arranged for supporters to be treated to free beer and donuts to mark his anniversary.
“We sung happy birthday to him in the dressing room before the match and I asked the players to give him a good present: three points,” he added. “We are pleased for him because he is a fantastic man. He came from Thailand to watch the match and has a very long journey back.”
Central defender Morgan’s 38th-minute header from left-back Christian Fuchs’s cross was enough to eke out a fourth consecutive win by the same narrow scoreline, but it could have been more.
Southampton were indebted to goalkeeper Fraser Forster for two superb stops: the first a tip over to prevent a Jose Fonte own goal and the second a point-blank block from Danny Simpson.
The Saints’ best chance fell to forward Sadio Mane, who rounded Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel only to see his shot kept out by Simpson’s arm, much to the dismay of visiting manager Ronald Koeman.
“I think we deserved two penalties,” said Koeman. “That’s the third time in a row: Stoke, Liverpool and today. It’s a key moment in the game. The chance of Mane is handball off his [Simpson’s] arm. It’s a penalty and it’s a red card. It makes it totally different.”