English Premiership

Puel returns to help Leicester banish Saints

2017-12-14 07:38
Claude Puel (AP)

Cape Town - Claude Puel was admirably restrained after his impressive Leicester City side thrashed Southampton 4-1 at St Mary's but the away supporters could not help themselves.

"Are you glad you sacked Puel?" Leicester's fans chanted at their disgruntled hosts who might now be questioning the wisdom of sacking the Frenchman at the end of last season and replacing him with Mauricio Pellegrino.

Puel took Southampton to eighth in the Premier League last season and led them to the League Cup final where they were unfortunate to lose to Manchester United.

Yet he was deemed surplus to requirements.

Since returning to the Premier League to replace Craig Shakespeare in October he has continued quietly going about his business, taking Leicester up to eighth spot.

Riyad Mahrez, who opened the scoring on Wednesday, is suddenly looking like the player who was voted Footballer of the Year in Leicester's title-winning campaign two years ago.

Shinji Okazaki, another key to Leicester's title surge, also struck twice on the south coast as Leicester made it four consecutive league wins.

Since Puel took charge only leaders Manchester City (21) and Burnley (18) have won more points in the Premier League than his Leicester side who have banked 17 in that period.

It was the first time they scored four on the road in the Premier League since a 4-4 draw at Tottenham 13 years ago.

Puel, however, was keeping it low-key, perhaps one of the reasons he never truly won over the Southampton fans.

"It was a strange feeling to come back here and it was nice to see familiar faces," Puel told reporters.

"I kept a good relationship with players and staff but for me it was important to keep my concentration on Leicester City.

"I am proud of my players because we gave a fantastic game. It was important to maintain the performance and it was a good result at halftime but we came back again."

With Andy King putting Leicester 3-0 ahead before halftime boos rang around the stadium from the home fans.

"It was a really bad game from the beginning to the end," Pellegrino said. "After conceding the first goal they were getting better and little by little our confidence went down.

"It was an awful day and that is the reality."


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