Wednesday 21 August 2019

Ranieri can't mask clear signs of Foxes' rapid decline

Leicester 0 Everton 2

Ranieri:
Ranieri: "In the first six months of 2016, everything was right and now everything is wrong. We have to react as soon as possible" Photo: Reuters

John Percy

This was supposed to be a protest at the Football Association but not even 30,000 Jamie Vardy masks will have concealed Leicester's deficiencies here.

Leicester's supporters must have felt like pulling those free masks over their eyes during an excruciating afternoon, with Vardy sorely missed as he started his controversial three-match ban.

Everton's Romelu Lukaku scores their second goal Photo: Reuters
Everton's Romelu Lukaku scores their second goal Photo: Reuters

Second-half goals from Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku saw Everton secure only their third win in 13 Premier League matches with ease to leave Leicester only three points above the relegation zone.

Vardy's suspension, for a two-footed challenge on Stoke's Mame Biram Diouf, and the rejected appeal have infuriated the Leicester hierarchy and masks with the England international's face on them were handed out before kick-off.

Yet if this was meant to be sticking two fingers up at the governing body, with FA chairman Greg Clarke at the game, Vardy's team-mates were unable to join in, giving a disjointed performance.

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri had thought the dramatic 2-2 draw at Stoke in their last game would act as a turning point but Leicester are going in reverse towards the bottom three.

Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring their second goal with Ramiro Funes Mori and teammates. Photo: Reuters
Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring their second goal with Ramiro Funes Mori and teammates. Photo: Reuters

Setback

Ranieri said: "It is difficult to say how much we missed Jamie but we are sad as we wanted to give our fans a good present. I didn't see the masks. This season is up and down, after something good there always seems to be a setback. In the first six months of 2016, everything was right and now everything is wrong. We have to react as soon as possible."

Vardy was sitting next to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Leicester chairman, for the game and this will have been painful viewing.

Leicester managed only two tame shots on goal all afternoon.

Everton were far from brilliant, and manager Ronald Koeman will still be counting down the days until the transfer window opens.

After an insipid opening half, Everton took the lead six minutes into the second period. Goalkeeper Joel Robles's clearance somehow cannoned its way through Leicester's midfield and defence to send Mirallas clear on goal.

The Belgian eluded Wes Morgan to run into the area and his shot deflected off Marcin Wasilewski to loop over Kasper Schmeichel.

Lukaku then broke clear in added time, outmuscling Morgan to slide the ball into the corner.

This was Everton's first away win since September. Koeman said: "It's important to win because everybody knows our away performances in the last two or three months have not been good." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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