Three-time Premier League-winning defender Jonny Evans moved to calm rising expectations among Leicester fans that the club can repeat their fairytale title win of 2016, saying the hectic Christmas period will give a more realistic picture.
The 31-year-old Northern Irish international who won his three league winners medals with Manchester United has played an integral role in the Foxes’ superb form this term under compatriot Brendan Rodgers.
Their impressive 2-0 win over an out-of-form Arsenal on Saturday lifted them to second in the table, eight points off leaders Liverpool.
However, Evans — who joined Leicester from West Bromwich Albion for £3.5 million ($4.5 million) in June last year — is too experienced a head to allow early season form to lull him into believing a genuine title challenge is a cast-iron certainty.
“I don’t think you’ll be able to judge that until after Christmas when we’re getting into it,” he said.
“We know how seasons can finish. It’ll be tough. We need a big squad to do that, and all firing in the right directions.
“We’ve shown we can battle games out but we’ve just got to do what we’re doing and see where it takes us.
“It’s still really early on in the season. If you look at it there’s still teams like Sheffield United sitting fifth. So we know it’s going to be a long season and every team can beat everyone.”
Evans, capped 83 times, said comparisons should not be drawn between the present team and the one that landed the title having been originally 5,000/1 to do so.
Were the Foxes to go on and win the league crown this season it would be even more emotional than the previous triumph due to the death in a helicopter crash in October 2018 of their much-loved Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
“I think it’s hard,” said Evans.
“What they did that year was incredible. I suppose it’s a compliment, really, to be compared to that team.
“I think teams disrespected Leicester that season, in terms of probably not really realising how good they were, and kept being caught short.
“After that, teams tried to become aware that they played on the counter-attack and not over-commit.”I’m sure teams realise we are a good side and in every game I think we’ve played well, given everyone a test.”