Fearless Leicester refreshing: Martinez

LONDON • Leicester City are a breath of fresh air for a sport generally dominated by sides with the most financial clout, Everton manager Roberto Martinez said yesterday, ahead of his side's Premier League clash against the Foxes.

Claudio Ranieri's side sit top of the table on 35 points after 16 games, their challenge spearheaded by league top scorer Jamie Vardy and winger Riyad Mahrez, the pair purchased for a combined fee of £1.4 million (S$2.9 million).

"We all know finances dictate a lot. Normally the expected sides are in the best positions. Leicester are an inspiration and the way they play if very refreshing," Martinez told reporters of tomorrow's opposition.

"Neutral fans will have a soft spot towards Leicester. It's the worse time to play them. Leicester are a very good team who deserve to be top.

"They are title contenders because of how competitive they've been. Leicester have no fear and they know exactly what they're doing. We know we will have to be at our best."

He has a lethal weapon of his own in Romelu Lukaku, the league's second-highest scorer, trailing Vardy's 15 goals by three.

The manager will also be able to count on defender John Stones, who picked up a knock in last weekend's 1-1 draw at Norwich City.

"In the last two days John has been able to do his normal work. He's rejoined the group. There has been no reaction," the Spaniard said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2015, with the headline 'Fearless Leicester refreshing: Martinez'. Print Edition | Subscribe