Claudio Ranieri has defended his Leicester side over claims that they have lacked fight in some big Premier League games this season.
The Foxes chief guided the team to a stunning title success against the odds last term, but their hopes of retaining the crown have already been hit by four defeats in their opening eight games - one more than they suffered throughout the entirety of last season.
Three of the losses this season have been heavy defeats at Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, which have all come ahead of Champions League matches.
It has been implied that the Foxes players have been saving themselves for the European fixtures, but Ranieri insists that is not the case.
"Sometimes you can play well and sometimes not so well," he said.
"They fight and last season we were more compact but now everyone knows about us. Now we are in the balance, in the middle, and not as good as last season but it's normal for a team like Leicester.
"We want to improve but it's normal when we start the season to have something to work on because new players have come and everything is new. Maybe we want to do something more but we are Leicester, we're a good team and we have to show our qualities."