Leicester, March 15 (IANS) Coach Claudio Ranieri was delighted to see his players send the Leicester City fans home proud after a 1-0 English Premier League win over Newcastle United at King Power Stadium.
Shinji Okazaki’s stunning overhead kick midway through the first half gave Ranieri a win and sent them five points clear at the top of the table in the process here on Monday.
With just eight games of the season now remaining, Leicester are in a fantastic position, but the manager was keen for them to continue to focus game-by-game – a formula that has brought them success so far.
And although it wasn’t easy against Newcastle buoyed by the appointment of new manager Rafael Benitez, City were able to get the job done thanks to a fantastic team display.
“I feel very good but it was a difficult match,” Ranieri was quoted as saying by Leicester’s official site on Monday.
“I said this before the match that it’s normal when the manager changes that the players want to show their attitude and their skills. They are very concentrated on what the new manager says but it was good and we showed fantastic spirit.”
“Not always did we play well. We played well for example against Aston Villa and West Bromwich but we drew those matches 1-1 and 2-2.”
“Now we play not so good as those games but we won. That is important – three points. There are eight matches to go and we continue. Our fans are dreaming and are proud of us. That’s important for us and we’ll carry on,” added Ranieri.
Okazaki’s goal in the first half was his first at King Power Stadium, sparking wild celebrations among players and fans. For the manager, he was thrilled to see such a popular member of the squad get off the mark at home.
He added: “I’m very pleased because Okazaki, when there’s a ball around the box he arrives. Often he was so close to scoring at home but it wasn’t possible but tonight he scored and the three points for us was important.”
“He’s a fantastic guy. Everybody loves him and it’s important that we continue to be together and help each other. Everybody together now. We have to push everybody together because there is something important for everybody.”