Lone ranger sees Foxes home
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.”
is sent off RED: Benoit Assou-Ekotto