Lone ranger sees Foxes home

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Ian Baker To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

LE­ICES­TER’S suc­cess this term has been based on a solid 4-4-2 for­ma­tion but man­ager Nigel Pear­son knows it is a sys­tem that will sel­dom work in the Pre­mier League.

He re­fused to ad­mit that he ex­per­i­mented against QPR but by play­ing just David Nu­gent up­front he had one eye on next sea­son’s chal­lenge.

For­tu­nately for Pear­son the move worked with Nu­gent scor­ing the only goal of the game, a fine 68th minute fin­ish that means Le­ices­ter will be crowned Cham­pi­onship win­ners if ei­ther Burn­ley lose at home to Wi­gan to­mor­row or if they win at Bolton a day later.

“We will al­ways be known as a 4-4-2 team but we got off to the best start in the club’s his­tory and only played 4-4-2 twice in the first ten games,” he said.

“I switched sys­tems be­cause I felt like it! We have play­ers who can do it and it suited the game. We need a plan B and C. It’s not been an ex­per­i­ment but a few people would have been sur­prised by how we lined up.

“You have to un­der­stand where we are as a squad. But I don’t ex­pect us to set our stan­dards low next sea­son.

“I ex­pect us to be com­pet­i­tive, I want the play­ers to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence but I want us to be suc­cess­ful.

“So we won’t be go­ing into games with any­thing other than an up­beat men­tal­ity.

“It might be enough to stay up but it’s the way for me.” This was a far from pretty game but QPR, who had rested sev­eral es­tab­lished names in­clud­ing Char­lie Austin and Richard Dunne, did miss sev­eral early chances with Modibo Maiga the main guilty party.

Le­ices­ter could have taken the lead be­fore the break as Nu­gent robbed Karl Henry and Andy King rounded Rob Green but Ne­dum On­uoha cleared well off the line.

The Foxes were to get the vi­tal goal on 68 min­utes as Nu­gent beat Benoit As­sou- Ekotto from Danny Drinkwa­ter’s in­tel­li­gent pass and fin­ished well from the an­gle past Green.

Kasper Sch­me­ichel was per­haps for­tu­nate to stay on for bring­ing down Yun Suk-Young out­side the area but there was no doubt­ing that As­sou-Ekotto de­served the red card he was handed 12 min­utes from time.

The left-back had al­ready been booked for a lunge on Riyad Mahrez in the first half when he tripped King and the in­evitable red card was shown to end Rangers’ hopes of a come­back with a play-off spot still yet to be se­cured.

“We’re still one re­sult away,” said man­ager Harry Red­knapp. “We are look­ing for an­other win.

“We played well and were un­for­tu­nate to lose. Le­ices­ter have done fan­tas­tic and are a good side.

“We had to take our op­por­tu­ni­ties. That was the dif­fer­ence.

“Benoit’s sec­ond one was a clumsy chal­lenge, you don’t go div­ing in and the goal was a poor one as well – he shouldn’t have got done there.

“Their keeper was lucky to stay on for wip­ing out Yun.

“The play-offs will be tight. Wi­gan are an out­stand­ing team, they look very strong.

“It will be hard to get third now as we are six points be­hind Derby.

“But a game against Wi­gan will be a good one, we need to get in them first though.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

is sent off RED: Benoit As­sou-Ekotto

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