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Ranieri ignores outside talk ahead of 'key' Leicester fixtures

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is eager to block out talk of his side's surprise Premier League title challenge as they approach what he feels is a "key" spell in their season.

The leaders were beaten by Arsenal prior to last weekend's FA Cup action, but will seek to bounce back from their third league loss of the campaign when they welcome Norwich City on Saturday.

Plenty outside the club have had their say on Leicester's shock emergence as title contenders, with Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane stating their Champions League qualification would be "special for football".

Former Leicester boss Sven-Goran Eriksson is also eager for Ranieri's side to claim an unlikely title, while predecessor Nigel Pearson suggested he deserved a slice of the credit for their impressive campaign.

Asked about the those comments, the Italian told reporters: "It's just talking.

"[Pearson] made a very good job. Well done to him, but now it is another Leicester."

After their defeat to at Emirates Stadium, where Jamie Vardy's penalty had given them the lead, Leicester's players were handed a week off by Ranieri as they aim to finish their incredible season with a flourish.

"They are refreshed and ready for the last fight. It'll be a big battle on Saturday [against Norwich]," he added.

"I think it the right decision for them [to have a break]. They deserve to have a rest.

"We have a block of fixtures until 19th March. Three at home and two away. These five matches coming up next for us, I believe they can be key in our season.

"Now we have to have confidence that we can manage the pressure."