‘Super hungry’ Jamie Vardy can fire Leicester up league table – Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers believes Jamie Vardy can help fire Leicester up the table after he and James Maddison came off the bench to inspire the Foxes to a 2-0 victory over Burnley.
It was no coincidence that Leicester had not won a Premier League match since beating Liverpool 1-0 on December 28 – Vardy has been missing since that day with a hamstring injury.
But the 35-year-old returned for the final 18 minutes of this one and it was all he needed to set up fellow substitute Maddison’s 82nd-minute opener and then grab the second himself.
“It tells you everything,” Rodgers said. “I’m so happy he could be involved.
“The thinking was more that it was going to be Leeds (on Saturday) but in the last few days he looked really bright, really sharp and he wanted to come and help the team even if it was only for 15-20 minutes, and that tells you everything about his attitude.
“Then there’s his energy, he’s a real catalyst for us. You see his movement behind, his link-up play and then he’s always in position to score. It was a great introduction for him and it was great to have him back.”
Vardy’s last-minute strike was his 94th Premier League goal since turning 30 – breaking the record previously held by Ian Wright.
And the energy he injected showed how important he can be in turning around what has been an indifferent season for Leicester so far.
“He’s super hungry,” Rodgers added. “It’s been frustrating for him being out, watching the team. Hopefully we can keep him fit now and with one or two other players returning, it’s going to be big over the next few months.”
Leicester started the match knowing defeat would have left them only three points clear of a Burnley side who have been fighting relegation all season. But instead they moved back into mid-table and celebrated their first clean sheet away from home this campaign.
“Clean sheets are of course very important but you just want to win games,” Rodgers said. “I thought tonight was a real examination, physically and mentally. To come to Burnley, you know you’ve got to stay strong.
“To get two goals and keep a clean sheet shows that when our concentration is right we can do it. There are other games like Wolves where we’ve played well but didn’t get the result, we’ve made mistakes and wrong decisions. Tonight we didn’t give too much away, Kasper didn’t have much to do.”
Burnley could have escaped the bottom three for the first time since November with a win, but instead saw the momentum which had brought seven points from the last three games halted.
Maxwel Cornet had a goal ruled out for offside but they otherwise struggled to threaten Leicester, and had relied on four big saves from Nick Pope to avoid the game getting away from them earlier than it did.
“Tonight we were not quite on the level where we have been,” Sean Dyche said. “There were backward passes, poor decisions, no lack of energy but just a lack of clarity in our play.
“I mentioned it at half-time and thought we got a bit stronger in the second half without doing as well as we have been doing.
“I thought we could nick a draw and even at 1-0 I fancied us to do that – we nearly did from a set-piece – but it was just one that got away from us with our performance.”
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