Arsene Wenger has warned Leicester City that they will struggle to replicate their Premier League-winning form next season.
The Foxes blew away the so-called elite clubs to storm to the title by ten points. Arsenal, who sat on top of the table on New Year's Day, finished in second place.
Claudio Ranieri's men arguably benefitted from the fact that their rivals had commitments in Europe. Indeed, Arsenal had to manage games against Bayern Munich and Barcelona in Europe while Leicester were able to focus solely on the Premier League.
Article continues below
But next season will be completely different for Leicester City as they will go straight into the Champions League proper and, as champions, will be top seeds in the group stage.
With such a small fixture list, Leicester managed to keep the majority of their squad injury free, but Wenger, who has had to deal with multiple injuries at Arsenal this season, expects that to change when the games start to pile up.
Let the struggle commence
The Frenchman told The Mirror: “Leicester will struggle. Their game is not based on possession and that demands huge physical resources.
“If you play at Barcelona on Wednesday night, you have to fight for every single ball and again on the Saturday in the Premier League then of course it will be difficult.
“I cannot predict what the future of Leicester is, but the only thing I can say is it’s much more difficult once you play in competitions like the Champions League."
Wenger was not playing down what Leicester have achieved, however, and congratulated them on what he described as an "absolutely remarkable achievement.”
He continued: “But what they have done, they have done. No-one can take it away from them. It’s an amazing story. Leicester only lost three games and to only lose three games is an absolutely remarkable achievement.”
Ranieri has been rightly receiving a number of plaudits for his achievements at the King Power Stadium and was recently awarded the Italian Manager of the Year award. Adding to that, he was also named the Manager of the Year by the League Managers Association.
He became only the second non-British manager to win the award, after Wenger, who won it in both 2002 and 2004.
The LMA’s chief executive Richard Bevan added: “Leicester’s achievement has been made possible by the tactical and technical knowledge of Claudio and his coaching staff. His passion for football, humility and charisma has underpinned an incredible ability to manage a team at the very highest level. He is a worthy champion and a true gentleman of the sport.”