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(Reuters) - Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri backed his team of "warriors" to arrest their poor run of form and avoid relegation from the Premier League despite winning just twice in their last 15 top-flight games.
Following their stunning title triumph last season, Leicester have continued to produce the unexpected this season, this time by tumbling down the table. They are battling relegation as they sit 16th place, a point above the bottom three after 24 games.
"When you don't win you lack confidence, it's normal, but fortunately these players are warriors. They are used to fighting. They already lived this situation," Ranieri told British media.
Leicester gave Ranieri a massive vote of confidence on Tuesday, saying the under-pressure manager would be given the opportunity to turn things around at the relegation-threatened league champions.
"They've lived the good things but also the bad. So I stay with the soldiers, with the warriors who know the problem, who know the enemy," the Italian added.
Ranieri played down media reports suggesting that his players have lost faith in his methods.
"I don't change any more, from now on it is 4-4-2. Also, I am Pinocchio," Ranieri said.
"This year I change (tactics) a little more because when things don't go right, I must try to find a solution. But my players understand the tactics and the systems well."
Leicester, who are on a four-game losing run in the league, host second-tier side Derby County in the FA Cup on Wednesday and travel to fellow relegation battlers Swansea City four days later.
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson