Monday 29 May 2017

Jamie Vardy hits back at criticism of Leicester players following sacking of Claudio Ranieri

Leicester City's Jamie Vardy celebrates after the game with Marc Albrighton
Leicester City's Jamie Vardy celebrates after the game with Marc Albrighton

Jamie Vardy claims Leicester's players have been subjected to "unfair stick" since Claudio Ranieri's sacking.

The England striker scored twice in Leicester's 3-1 victory over Liverpool at the King Power Stadium on Monday night - the first game of the post-Ranieri era.

Ranieri was sacked on Thursday, just nine months after guiding the Foxes to an improbable Premier League title, with the club now embroiled in a relegation scrap.

Senior Leicester players, including Vardy, have rallied against suggestions they plotted the Italian's downfall since his departure.

And the 30-year-old, who ended a personal Premier League drought which stretched back to December, believes the win could be a catalyst for the struggling Foxes.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Vardy said: "We've come under a lot of unfair stick with the stuff that's been in the press lately and the lads wanted to put a reaction in.

"The performance showed we wanted to do that but it's up to us to consistently do that."

Asked what had gone wrong this season, he added: "I can't put my finger on it. We've been working hard and it's not been happening but tonight it has all clicked.

"I've been very frustrated with the amount of goals I've got this season but hopefully those two goals will push me on and there will be more to follow.

"It was definitely a case of (being damned if we did and damned if we didn't) tonight. We just needed to show we've got that fighting intensity."

Danny Drinkwater, who also got his name on the scoresheet with a stunning volley, said: "It feels good.

"We need to enjoy it while it lasts and build on it from here. It was a reaction, we've come in for a bit of stick but it's a reaction we've caused as players.

"We base our game on basics; talking, moving, high pressure, high intensity, and it was about going back to basics and causing mistakes. It caused them problems and we got the three points which we massively needed.

"It's something to build on, the next game is even more important now."

Craig Shakespeare took over as caretaker manager for the clash against the Reds and did his chances of securing the job on a permanent basis no harm by overseeing Leicester's first Premier League victory of 2017.

The win also took Leicester out of the relegation zone, but Shakespeare refused to talk up his chances of being in charge for Saturday's vital game against fellow strugglers Hull.

He said: "My remit was one game, that's what I said.

"Could I do the job? I think I can. Does it faze me? No. I've quite enjoyed the last few days in a way. I've been an assistant manager for a long, long time. It's been different.

"I think it is one game and I'm humble enough to know that. We have to make sure the owners do what's right for the football club. It's a question for the owners."

Leicester took the lead - and scored their first Premier League goal of 2017 - after 28 minutes when Vardy slotted calmly past Simon Mignolet.

Drinkwater then doubled the Foxes' lead 10 minutes later with a stunning volley which flew past a static Mignolet.

Vardy nodded his seventh Premier League goal of the campaign from a Christian Fuchs cross on the hour mark before Philippe Coutinho grabbed a consolation for the Reds on 68 minutes.

Liverpool remain fifth, a point behind Arsenal, and boss Jurgen Klopp was frustrated by his side's performance.

The German said: "It looked like we hadn't spoken about the strength of Leicester and that's a real problem. We have to work, obviously, and to try to do everything better next time.

"The performance from the first second was not good enough, and that's how you lose football games. There is no reason for this. I'm not ready to look for an excuse."

Press Association

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