11 Dec Leicester play like Champions
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri said a post-Porto inquest helped to inspire the reigning Premier League champions after Jamie Vardy’s hat-trick downed Manchester City.
The striker ended a three-month wait for a club goal as the Foxes won 4-2 to seal their first leave victory since October.
Vardy was left at home for Wednesday’s 5-0 Champions League defeat in Porto, when Ranieri made 10 changes, which sparked a dressing room discussion about how to revive their form after just one win from eight games.
“We spoke a lot about everything but this time the words go in the right direction, not only mine. The players contributed,” Ranieri said.
“We must be upset with our performance (in Porto) because it wasn’t good enough and the fans are always behind us. It’s important to say ‘we are here’.
“We can tell it’s a turning point in two or three months, now it’s too early. For this reason I want to wait for the next two matches. It’s important the players feel better, with more confidence because we can do this.
“Now, forget the Champions League and put our brain on the Premier League.”
Leicester were 2-0 up after five minutes against City when Vardy drilled past Claudio Bravo and King scored from distance.
Vardy rounded Bravo for his second goal with just 20 minutes gone and then completed his treble with 12 minutes left after latching onto John Stones’ poor backpass.
He had failed to score in his previous 16 club games but Ranieri was relaxed over his form.
“He played so well, never he told me he needed to score. Never,” he said. “Although I know the goalscorer needs to score goals.”
Aleksandar Kolarov and Nolito scored in the final 10 minutes for City, who now sit four points behind leaders Arsenal in the title race and will be seven points behind Chelsea if the Blues beat West Brom on Sunday.
City have won four of their last 15 games in all competitions – having won Guardiola’s first 10 in charge – but despite their poor run of form the former Barcelona boss will refuse to compromise his passing style.
He said: “I want to play the football I feel. I cannot say we played badly or didn’t play without the intention to create. Always I try to control the games so we concede few goals, in here I cannot do that and I have to analyse why.
“I want to win games, I don’t want to lose games. I feel what I feel and in the Premier League there are some special things but the pitch is the same. What I believe is good and will be good.”
Shellshocked City also failed to win a tackle in the first 35 minutes but Guardiola played down the statistic.
“The second balls is a concept here in England, I’m not a coach for the tackles so I don’t train the tackles,” he said.
Guardiola was also forced to defend Stones again after the £50million summer signing from Everton made another mistake, presenting Vardy with his third goal with more poor distribution.
He added: “Today, except the last goal, he made a good performance. Central defenders is just defending, put the ball long, but what we want is a little bit more, not just defending.
“I’m not disappointed with my players. When I need to tell them something I will tell it to then, they are professional and old enough to know what happens.
“Hopefully in the future we can improve.”