FOXES UP FOR THE FIGHT
Ulloa’s late penalty extends Leicester’s lead at the top
Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri believes that the battling qualities shown in the 2-2 draw with West Ham can give the Foxes a massive psychological boost in their bid for a first Premier League title.
The league leaders - who are now eight points clear of Spurs - showed impressive character, quality and resilience to recover from Jamie Vardy’s sending-off and a West Ham comeback to eke out what could prove a crucial point in the title race.
The King Power Stadium faithful went through the whole gamut of emotions after goalscorer Vardy’s controversial dismissal paved the way for West Ham to go ahead through Andy Carroll’s spot-kick and a wonderful Aaron Cresswell strike. But Leonardo Ulloa’s stoppage-time penalty secured a vital draw for the Foxes.
“The sending off changed our match,” Claudio Ranieri told Sky Sports. “I judge my players not the referee, the referee is not my matter.
“Our performance was fantastic, this is our soul, we play every match with this, blood, heart and soul - it was magnificent.
“This point is very important psychologically.”
Leicester defender Simpson echoed his manager’s comments: “We have shown our team spirit and togetherness.
“We will always fight to the death. We cannot control other things, we can fight and work hard.
“Jeff Schlupp did well to get a penalty and Leonardo Ulloa slotted it away when there was a lot of pressure on him.
“I think that will turn out to be a massive point, not many teams go 2-1 down and do what we did, physiologically it will give us a massive boost.” While all the focus was on Leicester’s title charge, the draw leaves West Ham three points behind Manchester United as they battle themselves for a finish in the top five. Hammers boss Slaven Bilic was disappointed not to leave the King Power with all three points. “We are gutted, we did enough to win the game, before [the] last five seconds,” said Bilic. “The game went that way and it was hard for the referee with the crowd. “I feel for him. Although it was not a penalty. “We did enough to win the game and deserved to win it.”
MIXED EMOTIONS: Jamie Vardy scored (inset) before being sent off in the 2-2 draw with West Ham