(Reuters) - Leicester City's remarkable rise to the top of the Premier League this season has not surprised Manchester City right back Bacary Sagna, who said the Foxes had been the team to beat since they escaped from the jaws of relegation last year.
Claudio Ranieri's side are currently five points ahead of second-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the league with nine games left to play. Under former manager Nigel Pearson, they won seven of their last nine matches last season to finish 14th after long appearing condemned to relegation.
"I'm not surprised," Sagna told British radio station Talksport. "They have quality players... and they've been doing really great," he added.
Manchester City are fourth in the league, trailing Leicester by 10 points but have a game in hand. Sagna said they could still reel Leicester in.
"We're working really hard as a team to come back strongly. I'm not worried about it," he said.
"There are still 30 points to play for, and if we keep playing to the max we can come back," the France international said.
Manuel Pellegrini's men travel to face relegation-threatened Norwich City in the league on Saturday. Leicester host struggling Newcastle United on Monday night.
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Keith Weir