King hits back

Andy King has hit back at those questioning Leicester’s heart by insisting their character has not disappeared after last year’s title win.

The Foxes’ Premier League haul of 17 points at Christmas is 21 points fewer than their total at that point 12 months earlier, and relegation in 2017 is a more realistic proposition than repeating for the champions of England.

The recent loss to struggling Sunderland saw Alan Shearer accusing Claudio Ranieri’s side of “resting on their laurels” in his newspaper column, while words such as “apathy” and “application” were also used to describe a club yet to win on their Premier League travels this term.

However, their stomach for the fight was certainly evident at Stoke on Saturday when they came back from two goals down to claim a point despite playing with 10 men for over an hour after Jamie Vardy was sent off.

“The boys showed unbelievable character in what was a difficult situation and to come away with a point from a tough place like Stoke, we’re delighted in difficult circumstances,” said Wales international King.

“One of the things that we have always had at this club, especially in recent years is character. I know that has been questioned a little bit at times in recent weeks, rightly or wrongly, but we showed that we’re back to that.

“We wanted to put on a good performance and it was tough when we went down to 10 but it was about the character.

“In a group like ours, we pride ourselves on that. First and foremost everyone works together and puts in a shift for each other and that’s what we pride ourselves on.

“We know that the results haven’t been there this season as much as last year and it’s down to us as players.

“We’re a group who pride ourselves on working for each other and working for the team and you could see that again on Saturday.

“It takes unbelievable team spirit and good quality and a good performance as well to come back from 2-0 at Stoke.”

That they even needed to dig into deep reserves was only necessary because Vardy was dismissed in the 28th minute for what referee Craig Pawson deemed a dangerous lunge on Mame Diouf.

It was an interpretation that neither Ranieri or Potters boss Mark Hughes could agree on, with Glen Johnson’s lean on Vardy in the lead-up to the challenge further muddying the waters, and the man on the receiving end was unable to provide support to either manager’s view.

“I didn’t see it,” Diouf said. “I just saw somebody coming. He touched me but I don’t know, I didn’t see it.”

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