Daily Mirror


Veteran Foxes striker misses sitter – but finds goal-den touch after a pep talk from teenage team-mate


JAMIE VARDY returned to form in style – but only after a pick-me-up from his youngest Foxes team-mate.

The former England striker, 36, netted a late double as he scored for the first time since early October with the tabletoppi­ng Leicester putting two straight losses behind them.

But he missed an open goal from just four yards out – arguably the worst miss of his career – moments before breaking the deadlock on 76 minutes.

Vardy was furious about his miss, smacking himself in the face, but fellow forward Abdul Fatawu immediatel­y consoled him and lifted him to greater things. Fatawu, 19, explained: “Any time you miss a chance, it sometimes brings you down.

“But as a team, if a team-mate does this, you just need to motivate the person and get them back. In football, anything can happen.

‘‘I knew he would score as he always does, so I was not worried about his missed chances. I know Jamie is an experience­d player, but sometimes something small can help.

“I just told him I believed in him and knew he would score.

“When something like that happens, you just need someone to talk to you so you get your energy back, so I went to him. I was so happy for him and afterwards I went to him and said, ‘I knew you were going to score, I’m not surprised’.”

Vardy (left, with boss Enzo Maresca) did not just score one, he also won and scored a stoppageti­me penalty, after being brought down by Daniel Bachmann, who got a second yellow. Leicester have a threepoint lead over second-placed Ipswich and 10 over Leeds in third after the pair both dropped points this weekend.

Foxes defender James Justin admits there was plenty of soulsearch­ing over the last fortnight.

He said: “When you are winning lots of weeks, you can take it for granted.

“To have two losses before the internatio­nal break could have been a blessing in disguise. It made us sit down and think about what we can do better.

“We’ve had to take a bit of a look in the mirror.”

Defender Ryan Porteous went in goal after Bachmann’s red, but could not keep out Vardy’s powerful penalty as their six-game unbeaten run came to an end.

He said: “It was a first for me. I was disappoint­ed I couldn’t get a hand to the penalty. First and last time, hopefully!

“You know it’s always going to be a tough day at the office when you come to these places.

“You need to defend well and your goalkeeper to make big saves. We did that for large periods of the game – but I think the next step is doing that for 90 minutes. We are not there yet, so we need to work on that.”

 ?? ?? ON THE UP... Vardy celebrates his opener (main photo) with teen Fatawu
ON THE UP... Vardy celebrates his opener (main photo) with teen Fatawu
 ?? ?? PORT OF CALL... Porteous is encouraged as he takes over in goal
PORT OF CALL... Porteous is encouraged as he takes over in goal
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