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 By PA Sport

Claudio Ranieri: Aliens will land in London before Leicester repeat

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri believes it is more likely that aliens will land in London than that the Foxes will defend their Premier League title.

The Italian expects Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City to mount strong challenges after they all faltered last season.

Leicester go to Hull on Saturday to start the defence of their shock league crown, by a runaway 10 points, after they were 5,000-1 with some bookmakers to win it at the beginning of the campaign.

But Ranieri, who signed a new contract until 2020 on Wednesday, has already dismissed their chances of retaining the title and believes extraterrestrials arriving in the capital is more likely.

"It's easier for ET to come to Piccadilly Circus," he said. "I work to be safe and continue to build a team, anything more that happens is fantastic.

"It is normal that we can't win the league. For this reason I say the bookmakers must do 6,000-1.

"It is impossible. It is more difficult than last season.

"Of course they [Leicester's title rivals] are stronger because they can't make a mistake another year.

"They lost one season and in the life of those big teams that can happen but, altogether, it only happens once in a lifetime.

"I am very curious, all the world is curious, what will happen with Leicester. I am very curious to see where we finish.

"Of course the big teams are ready to fight for the title, we are ready to defend our title but we know it is a difficult gap, last season we made something unbelievable.

"But now the big teams will come back, I am sure."

Ranieri has a fully fit squad ahead of the trip to the KC Stadium and reiterated his belief that last season's PFA player of the year Riyad Mahrez is available for selection and will stay with the Foxes despite being continually linked with a move to Arsenal.

"I don't know, who is interested? Tell me if there is one," he said.

"Riyad will stay with us. I say: 'Hey keep going, we have to improve, also you have to improve your experience in the Champions League, it's totally different.'

"[Champions League] football is different from the Premier League. It is important to be focused in your job."

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