Football: Leicester players feel no stress as they edge ever closer to first EPL title

Leicester City players celebrating after defeating Sunderland in their EPL clash at the Stadium of Light on April 10, 2016.
Leicester City players celebrating after defeating Sunderland in their EPL clash at the Stadium of Light on April 10, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Leicester City's players are remarkably stress-free as they continue to close in on their maiden English Premier League title, according to the club's performance psychologist Ken Way.

With a seven-point lead over the chasing pack led by Tottenham Hotspur, the Foxes are sitting pretty at the top of the division with five games to play, having won their last five games in a row.

"I'm not a busy man at the moment," Way told The Times. "I was even able to take a short holiday last week and not worry about it.

"I was concerned at one point, earlier in the season, about how (the pressure) might start to affect the players. But it honestly hasn't. It's not a stressful situation. It's only stressful if you allow it to be."

Way says Leicester's remarkable rise to the summit after flirting with relegation for most of the last campaign is the result of an organic process which began under former manager Nigel Pearson and has been brought to fruition by current boss Claudio Ranieri.

"People think something suddenly 'clicked', but I'd say it was much more organic than that," he added. "It had been happening for some time, with promotion from the Championship under Nigel Pearson.

"When Claudio arrived, I was nervous because Nigel had fashioned a great staff and we weren't sure what was going to happen.

"I expected him to be an austere type of manager but he has a lovely manner. He will take a situation that could be fractious and take the heat out of it.

"The dressing room is buoyant, with Jamie Vardy playing practical jokes and Christian Fuchs and Robert Huth making people laugh. There is a party atmosphere but it's also extremely focused.

"Nobody is thinking about the consequences of what they're doing. It's one game at a time, like Claudio has said all along."