Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy said his side’s 3-1 victory over Liverpool on Monday had been a reaction to negative media reports over the dismissal of manager Claudio Ranieri.
Ranieri was sacked on Thursday, less than 10 months on from Leicester’s 5,000-1 title triumph, after a run of five straight defeats plunged the club into a relegation battle.
Reports suggested Ranieri had lost the confidence of Leicester’s players, but Vardy, who scored twice, said the criticism had been unjustified.
“We’ve come in for a lot of unfair stick with things that have been in the press, but you’ve seen that the lads wanted to react,” Vardy told Sky Sports at the King Power Stadium.
“The performance did that and we want to do it consistently. I couldn’t put my finger on why we haven’t been doing that regularly.
“We’ve been working hard and it’s just not been happening.”
Vardy struck either side of a glorious Danny Drinkwater effort as Leicester ended a run of five straight league defeats to climb to 15th place in the table, two points above the bottom three.
“You can call it a reaction,” Drinkwater said. “We’ve come in for a bit of stick.”
Leicester’s fans held banners and wore masks in support of Ranieri prior to the game and illuminated their smartphones during a standing ovation in the 65-year-old’s honour in the 65th minute.
“Dilly ding, dilly dong/We’re sad Claudio’s gone,” read one banner, a nod to the Ranieri catchphrase that became the slogan of last season’s fairytale title tilt.
Many fans wore Ranieri face masks and several banners expressed thanks to the popular Italian, with one reading: “Thank you Ranieri for making our dreams come true!”
Another banner held up by a female fan laid the blame for Ranieri’s departure partly at the players’ door: “RANIERI!! YOUR PLAYERS AND OWNERS LET YOU DOWN!”
Caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare wrote in the match programme that press reports of a player rebellion against Ranieri were “unfair” and “unfounded”.
Vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha wrote that the players had “supported Claudio fiercely”, but accepted some supporters had been left “angry” by the club’s decision to sack him.
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