Defending English Premier League champions Leicester City are currently 16th in the table and only two points above the relegation zone after 23 matches played, just nine months after they shocked the world to lift the English Primera title.

The Foxes host Manchester United on Sunday at the King Power Stadium and Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho isn’t surprised by the hosts drastic capitulation.

The former Chelsea boss claims the complicated schedule of combining European football with domestic games has cost Claudio Ranieri’s men the title this term. 

“First of all I think what Leicester did is one of the big things in the world of football,” Mourinho said.

“I think nobody, even them, would expect to be champions again. What they did was unique, it was so unique that Claudio deserved to be named best manager in the world. It was amazing what they did.

“I don’t think it would be possible to do a second season, especially playing in the Champions League at the same time. The Champions League is hard. They were working for one complete season with one match per week, competing against other teams domestically that were playing in the Champions League while they weren’t. That is a big, big, big difference for them.

“So nobody would expect them – not even them – to be fighting for the title again. But the manager is there, the players are there, the team is there and they are a very good team.

“It’s a very difficult match for us and also a very difficult match for them. I have total respect for what they did and for the change of life they are experiencing. I think next season will be much better for them again. This is new for them; the Champions League and being champions is a lot.”

Only former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and Mourinho have retained then Premier League title in history.

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