Jamie Vardy’s red-hot form could force Leicester City to be flexible with their tactics and avoid passing to the England striker, manager Claudio Ranieri has joked.
Vardy scored for a ninth-straight Premier League game when he clattered home a penalty to sink Watford in Leicester’s previous match and a goal at Newcastle United on Saturday would equal former Manchester United star Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of netting in 10 consecutive top-flight games.
The 28-year-old sustained hip and groin injuries versus Watford, forcing him to miss England’s friendlies against Spain and France despite being part of Roy Hodgson’s squad over the past week.
And Ranieri told a pre-match news conference that his players may well have to get used to playing without Vardy’s influence whether he is on the pitch or not.
“It is natural,” the Italian said.
“Everyone wants to stop Jamie Vardy – he is our goalscorer. Maybe we’ll try to pass the ball to our other players.
“For me it’s important he feels good, if he scores or not it’s not my problem. I’m thinking about other things, I’m thinking about Newcastle, not penalties or records because it will be a tough match.”
Despite being grouped in with the pre-season relegation favourites, Leicester are riding high in the Premier League table a point behind leaders Manchester City and Arsenal.
Ranieri attributes their success to “Italian tactics and English spirit” but stated that they are still focused on reaching the feted 40-point mark associated with Premier League survival.
Leicester currently have 25 to their name – 15 more than their weekend opponents.
“We are fighting for another 15 points,” Ranieri added. “Every match is a trap. Newcastle are a good team with good fans who push their players, but we are ready.”
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