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Ranieri: Leicester title bid could be one-off

Claudio Ranieri does not expect Leicester City's remarkable title bid to become the norm in the Premier League. 

Leicester boast a five-point advantage at the summit with nine matches to play, confounding most expectations that their high-flying form would fade to make way for one of the Premier League's traditional heavyweights to take the lead.

But as clubs prepare to have their bank balances enhanced by next season's bumper television rights deal, Ranieri feels the established order could once again have things going their own way this time next year.

"It could be a change this year but next year – restart," he told a news conference ahead of Monday's home match against Newcastle United.

"Every decade or 20 years something strange could happen. For this reason it could be this year and then nevermore.

"I don't know if this is a one-off. It's crazy numbers, a crazy league and anything could happen."

Despite Leicester's lofty status, with Tottenham their nearest challengers and Manchester City 10 points behind with a game in hand in fourth, Ranieri refuses to consider his team to be favourites for the title.

Arsenal are in FA Cup action this weekend and Arsene Wenger's third-placed team would be 11 points off the pace if Leicester pile further misery upon struggling Newcastle with victory at the King Power Stadium.

"No. For me we are the same. For me the favourites are the others, of course," Ranieri said.

"It doesn't matter [if we go 11 points above Arsenal]. We have to fight and at the end we can say we achieved this.

"We are in the Europa League, fantastic; we are in the Champions League, amazing.

"Everybody is a threat because the league this year is crazy. You know my idea and I still have this idea."

Speculation continues to swirl over the future of Newcastle boss Steve McClaren as the club languishes in the bottom three and Ranieri is surprised to see a club with such resources in the relegation fight.

"Newcastle is a difficult match because they are in a dangerous position but I can't believe why," he added.

"There are so many good players, they spent more than £100million and I think it will be another difficult match because they have to fight to survive.

"I am very surprised because in my opinion there is a good manager, good players, fantastic fans.

"All the managers are under pressure, always. It is our life. We have to live with this."