Puel en­joys Maguire win­ner

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - SOCCER - NICK PUREWAL

CLAUDE PUEL last night in­sisted his bullish pitch-in­va­sion cel­e­bra­tions af­ter Le­ices­ter’s last-ditch win had noth­ing to do with his Southamp­ton sack­ing.

The Foxes man­ager stormed the pitch with some en­er­getic dou­ble fist-pump­ing when Harry Maguire’s low drive handed his side a late vic­tory.

Puel could have been for­given for rel­ish­ing a re­venge vic­tory over former em­ploy­ers Southamp­ton, who sacked him in 2017 af­ter guid­ing the club to an eighth-place Pre­mier League fin­ish and the League Cup fi­nal.

Ryan Ber­trand’s thun­der­bolt had Saints ahead, only for De­marai Gray to level four min­utes later. Pierre-Emile Ho­jb­jerg was sent off late on for a sec­ond book­ing and then Maguire bagged the win­ner in added time.

Asked if his out-of-char­ac­ter cel­e­bra­tion was mo­ti­vated by his Saints sack­ing, Puel replied: “No, no, no: noth­ing about this. Be­cause I have a lot of re­spect for all the peo­ple work­ing at Southamp­ton.

“It was just about the cir­cum­stance of the game, and it was a tough game, dif­fi­cult to play against this team and we have had good de­sire and a good re­ac­tion to keep our calm and to play the sec­ond part of the game and to win this time is a fan­tas­tic feel­ing. I’m happy for my play­ers, for the fans, to get some­thing. It’s jus­tice.”

Southamp­ton have now won just three of their last 28 Pre­mier League games at St Mary’s and are yet to claim a vic­tory this term. Boss Mark Hughes in­sisted he felt his side de­served to win the game — and that he was even happy to see Maguire shoot on goal, un­til the ball crossed the goal-line that is. “We didn’t de­serve that, I thought it was a re­ally strong per­for­mance by us,” said Hughes.

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