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Monday 16 September 2019

Shakespeare thankful for Vardy's 'purple patch'

Craig Shakespeare will not discuss survival until it is mathematically secure
Craig Shakespeare will not discuss survival until it is mathematically secure

Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare hailed England striker Jamie Vardy after his clinical strike secured a vital 1-0 Premier League win at West Brom.

Vardy's 17th goal of the season in the 43rd minute took Leicester to 40 points, surely enough for the champions to retain their top-flight status.

Former Albion midfielder Shakespeare said: "I always felt the first goal was going to be important because I expected West Brom to push on a bit more then.

"Jamie is in that purple patch that strikers can sometimes go through. He has got a cool head in front of goal at the moment and he put it away very, very well."

Vardy has scored nine times in his last 13 games and Shakespeare added: "He has got to thank the other players as well for the service and he would be the first to admit that, because it is very much a team game, but when you have a striker in form it helps.

"Jamie's attributes are that he is quick, very, very quick, and he plays on the shoulder and we have to supply him for that need.

"You saw that goal and I think that it epitomises him as a striker."

While 40 points leaves Leicester nine clear of the relegation line, Shakespeare added: "We are not mathematically safe so unfortunately you will not hear me saying too much about it.

"Obviously I am delighted with the three points today but until we are mathematically safe, we have to keep on. Even then we have a duty to perform in every game and that is what we will do."

Albion could have done with a striker as efficient as Vardy as they again struggled in front of goal.

Tony Pulis has now seen his side lose their last four games and fail to score for five successive matches.

Salomon Rondon, whose misplaced pass allowed Shinji Okazaki to set up Vardy for the winner, toiled hard in attack but has how gone 19 Albion games without a goal since his hat-trick against Swansea on December 14.

Pulis, who admits his side need to find a killer instinct in front of goal, said: "I am disappointed for the players again as I thought we worked really hard.

"We had worked all week and talked about Vardy, the changeover, and they play that ball forward very, very quickly for him to run into space and we got caught.

"We need a break. I think that was Leicester's only shot on target. We have had 16 and could have and should have had more opportunities.

"So we are getting up in the final third, we need a break and I think that the (Craig) Dawson header from the corner epitomises the little bit of luck that we are not getting as it was deflected over the bar off (team-mate Chris Brunt) when it was sailing into the top corner.

"You can't fault the players as they have worked really hard. If there is one criticism we were in that final third a lot of times and we need to get crosses in and shots off.

"What we need is that killer instinct in the final third."

PA Media

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