Claudio Ranieri has confessed that though anything can happen in football, it is unrealistic for his team to win this season’s champions league.
Leicester will make their Champions League debut away at Club Brugge on Wednesday having earned their place in the competition with an unlikely Premier League title win last season.
Ranieri believes similar success on the continent is unlikely, though he would not rule anything out following their sensational campaign in 2015-16.
“Our fairytale is not only in sport but in life. If you believe, good things could happen. If you don’t, it’s difficult,” the Italian manager told a media conference.
“Winning the Champions League is impossible. But Leicester show that the impossible is possible.
“We would have to write another big fairytale [to win the Champions League] – the second story. It is important to make an experience. I don’t want to make an illusion to our fans.”
While confessing that a title tilt might be beyond them, Ranieri was unequivocal in his desire to reach the knockout stages.
“We want to show our best. Our desire is to win. We have to fight, but with a lot of respect for everybody,” he added. It’s important for us to play in Europe beyond December. This is our goal. Of course we want to be in the knockout stages.”
The Italian ruled Danny Simpson, who limped off in the first half of Saturday’s 4-1 loss at Liverpool, out of contention for what he anticipates to be a difficult encounter in Belgium, but club-record signing Islam Slimani could be set for a debut.
“If I risk him [Simpson], I could lose him for a month,” said Ranieri. “[Slimani] is ready to play. Tonight, I will choose who is in the first XI.
“Brugge is a good team – the best in Belgium. They are used to playing in Europe, they have experience, that means something.”