London (AFP) – Leicester winger Marc Albrighton says the secret to his side’s astonishing Premier League title triumph was their bloody minded refusal to accept defeat.
Claudio Ranieri’s team were crowned English champions on Monday after Tottenham’s 2-2 draw against Chelsea completed one of the most unlikely sporting success stories of all time.
Just 12 months ago, the Foxes barely avoided relegation to the Championship and they started this season as 5,000-1 outsiders for the title following the widely criticised appointment of boss Claudio Ranieri, whose previous job as Greece coach had ended with the humiliation of a loss to the Faroe Islands.
But Leicester defied the odds in spectacular fashion and Albrighton is convinced the roots of their astonishing rise lie in the way Ranieri and his players cultivated an unusually strong sense of togetherness.
At a time when the vast wages and disparate cultures at Premier League clubs can often cause dressing room rifts, Leicester have bucked the trend.
That spirit was visible in the way they responded to the two-game absence of suspended leading scorer Jamie Vardy by thrashing Swansea and drawing with Manchester United in their last two matches, and was also evident in a series of come from behind heroics earlier in the campaign.
“We’ve got that never-say-die attitude. I think that’s won us a lot of points this season,” Albrighton said.
“Early on this season you’ve got the draws at Stoke and Southampton, we were 2-0 down in both of them, and 2-0 down in the home game against Villa.
“So that showed our character early in the season and we’ve continued to do that. We’ve gone behind at Old Trafford, which is a daunting place.
“It’s a big pitch and the fans are behind them, but credit to the lads, we carried on going, got the equaliser and held on.”
Albrighton revealed Leicester’s players had left Old Trafford on Sunday frustrated that they missed the chance to celebrate winning the title with their 3,000 travelling supporters.
“We came to win the game and to wrap up the title, but it wasn’t to be,” he said.
“We were probably thinking what could have been and that we could have been over there celebrating with our fans.”
But, although Leicester were unable to secure the title at Manchester United, they had to wait only another 24 hours to seal the first top-flight triumph in the club’s 132-year history.
Albrighton, who has been rejuvenated since being released by Aston Villa two years ago, admitted the enormity of Leicester’s achievement wouldn’t become clear until long after the season is over.
“I don’t think it will for a while. It might sink in later on in the summer,” he added.
25+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
- Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
- $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
- Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
- Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family