Schwarzer hails Leicester spirit

Surprise Premier League leaders Leicester City thrive on being the underdog, according to veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

Leicester, tipped for relegation at the beginning of the campaign, will spend Christmas Day atop the Premier League ladder after a remarkable start to the season which has seen Claudio Ranieri's side defy all the odds.

Speaking to BeIN Sport, former Australia international Schwarzer said his side had out performed all the Premier League's traditional big hitters.

"Leicester may not have the same type of expectations as teams like Chelsea but right now we are out-performing all the big clubs, and it’s been a surprise for everybody, even us, although there has always been a huge self-belief at this club," said the 43-year-old.

"There is still such a long way to go, but to be top at Christmas is no fluke.

"There is such a great spirit and determination to prove the doubters wrong. You saw that last season when we turned things around in such dramatic circumstances.

"And this season, before a ball had even been kicked, we were cast as relegation candidates, which is understandable.

"It was an added incentive for everybody to roll up their sleeves and say ‘okay, let’s just see where it takes us'.

"We have just carried on from where we left off last season … the performance in those final 10 games was truly amazing."

Despite the continuation of remarkable form from last season, when the club was coached by Nigel Pearson, Schwarzer said the influence of Ranieri could not be understated.

"He is very, very good," Schwarzer said.

"Maybe of late he hadn't had the success of his earlier years and for everybody it was a shock for him to be given the job at Leicester, particularly after the way things went with Greece.

"But he has completely justified the confidence and the belief the owners had in him and he has been excellent."

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