Champions League: Leicester City showed big heart, says Claudio Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri
Leicester are playing in their first Champions League campaign

Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri praised his side's "big heart" after Jamie Vardy grabbed a potentially crucial away goal in their Champions League last 16 tie at Sevilla.

The Foxes were 2-0 down before Vardy scored for the first time since 10 December to give the Foxes an away goal in a 2-1 defeat.

The second leg at the King Power Stadium takes place on 14 March.

"We showed fight," Ranieri told BBC Radio 5 live.

"When we play with this character, the luck comes to your side. We have to keep going."

Floodgates to open for Vardy?

Jamie Vardy

Vardy played a significant role in Leicester's run to the Premier League title last season, scoring 24 league goals.

His goal on Wednesday ended a run of nine games without scoring and Ranieri is hopeful it will give the England striker, and the rest of the Leicester team, confidence for the remainder of the season.

"The goalscorer needs to score, needs to get confidence," he added. "This goal reopens our confidence."

Another defeat, but a corner turned for Leicester?

Ranieri had spoken before the game that this fixture could prove to be a turning point in a difficult season.

After winning the league last season they now find themselves one point above the relegation zone.

"We came in the dressing room and I know we lost but I felt that buzz again from the boys and that togetherness," said Leicester defender Danny Simpson.

"I really hope that can kick us on in the league. I know the Champions League is a big competition but the Premier League is the bread and butter and we've got Liverpool next which is a massive game."

'Performance of the season by Leicester'

Schmeichel saved Correa's penalty when the score was 0-0

Former Manchester United defender Phil Neville, who was watching the game for BBC Radio 5 live, believes the Foxes showed more fight in the game than they had all season, particularly after Kasper Schmeichel saved Joaquin Correa's first-half penalty.

"I thought the penalty save in the first half could be a turning point in the whole season for Leicester," he said. "Not much luck has been going their way and you saw a real lift and team spirit.

"Sir Alex Ferguson always used to say to us to remember the hard work and the pain we put in last season and put in an extra 10%. Leicester came off shattered after running their socks off and that should be the norm. We haven't seen that from them all season.

"That's the performance of the season for me by Leicester. Particularly in the second half. They were courageous on the ball and took the came to Sevilla. Well done Claudio Ranieri, well done Leicester City. They are still in this tie."

BBC

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