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(Reuters) - Champions Leicester City are still the team to beat in the Premier League despite their sluggish start to the campaign but need to string together a series of wins to rebuild their confidence, defender Luis Hernandez said.
Leicester, who are 12th after losing three of their opening seven games, have yet to recapture the stunning form they displayed last season, which saw them romp to a first league title by a 10-point margin.
"Our strength is the group but on the counter-attack, we are lethal. We know our weapons -- remaining strong defensively and then striking the opponent's area quickly," Hernandez told British media.
"We just need to link two or three good results in the Premier League to move up the league and grow in confidence. We have not started in the league as we would have liked. We were aware that this year was going to be complicated.
"Everyone wants to win at Leicester, we are the team to beat. Everyone has studied and knows us. The big teams have reinforced very well and there are six or seven teams that can win the league. We hope to improve our start."
Hernandez, who joined the Foxes during the close season, singled out pacy striker Jamie Vardy, influential winger Riyad Mahrez and combative midfielder Danny Drinkwater for praise.
"Vardy has been champion of the league but is very humble. He has not lost his ambition. Mahrez is among the three most talented players in the Premier League," the 27-year-old added.
"And Drinkwater dictates our rhythm and understands when to counter-attack and when to hold. He is key."
Leicester travel to face seventh-placed Chelsea on Saturday.
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien