Jamie Vardy made it seven goals in six Leicester City appearances this season with the opening effort of the 2-1 win over AEK Athens on Thursday.
Peculiarly, all of those goals have come away from the King Power Stadium, with City currently holding a 100 per cent record away from home.
Here’s what manager Brendan Rodgers had to say about Vardy, as well at the poor state of the pitch in Athens, and the injuries at the club.
Q: What were your thoughts on the performance?
BR: “It was very pleasing. It was a different type of performance. It was never going to be a fast-flowing game because the pitch was awful to be honest. It was a surface that the players didn’t trust in their footing. It was very slippy.
“But that aside, we took our chances in the first half. It was a really good move that led to the penalty and we went 1-0 up. We had a couple of good moments to get the second but they make some good blocks. Eventually we get the second goal.
“They came out at 2-0 down with nothing to lose, but we had a really good chance to go 3-0 up, and literally two minutes after that they get to 2-1. In any game, but particularly in Europe, that’s when the momentum changes for 15 to 20 minutes, and that’s when we had to show our spirit, unity, togetherness and courage.
“If you can’t play the game you want with the ball, you can still defend really strongly and I thought we did that. We nearly got the third through Cengo, it was a great piece of skill.
“Then we were calm to see the game out. We had to make changes within the game to find the stability.
“I’m very pleased. It was a great result for us, and like I said, it was never going to be a fast-flowing game because of the surface, but we still managed moments of quality.”
Q: Did the pitch force you to change tactics?
BR: “We knew it was poor. We knew when our representatives came out to look at the venue, it was reported back, but we don’t want to use that as an excuse before the game.
“I said to the players we just had to deal with it. We saw it in the training last night. That’s why I have admiration for them, because they didn’t use it as an excuse, they got on with it.
“After the first 10 minutes, we could see it was really hard to build the game fast from behind, so we had to go longer in our build-up play.
“In the Premier League, we have amazing pitches that allow the games to be fast and dynamic.
“But it shows you the growth in this team that they can come away, and without being to play that way, we still managed to pick up a European win away from home, which is a great sign for this young team.”
Q: Is there a reason why Timothy Castagne and Jonny Evans were absent from the squad?
BR: “Yes. Timothy has tweaked his hamstring, hence the reason he didn’t travel, so he will probably be out until after the international break, which is a shame.
“It’s not too bad but it will keep him out for this next period.
“Jonny landed really awkwardly against Arsenal but played on. Then the back stiffened up.
“We wanted to give him every chance to play in this game. He came out to do the warm-up last night, but had to go in and was suffering with his back.
“That meant we had to rejig it. Fuchsy, who was planned not to play, we gave him 45 minutes, so we didn’t risk him any longer. The plan was for him to come in and play the second period.
“The guys are having to cope with all the injuries and all the games, and they’re still churning out great results. I’m so happy for them because it’s a great win considering all of the circumstances, all the players we have missing. They’re still producing and doing very well.
Q: How close is Ricardo Pereira?
BR: “We brought him out here to continue with his rehabilitation. He’s getting close but he won’t feature before the international break. We’re hopeful after that he will be available to take part. It’s great news for us.
“He’s progressed really well, he’s worked ever so hard, and he’s now joining in parts of the session with the outfield players, and we just wanted to keep that rehab going so we took him with us.”
Q: You must be pleased the squad is performing so well given the injuries and that you can rotate?
BR: “It shows the spirit and unity of the team. That really came to the fore tonight. It was very difficult to play very fluent football. I’ve said before but I’ll repeat, the pitch was really not conducive for good football. We showed moments of that.
“Tonight was a European game where you’ve conceded and they have the momentum for large parts of the second half, and if you’re not strong and together… and with so many players missing for us, to show that level of concentration and work ethic and desire to win a game of football, that bodes well.
“That’s the constant growth of this team. There were lots of young players playing in Europe for the first time, understanding how to win. And especially in a game where you can’t play attractive, attacking football, you have to be able to see the game out. I thought it was really professional against a team who have been here, and where it’s a tough place to come. They won through and produced a great three points.”
Q: You talked about the pitch there. Was it a level where you thought it was dangerous for the players’ safety?
BR: “It was very slippy. We’re probably spoiled with the quality of the pitches in the UK and the hard work that goes into maintaining them.
“They had a lot of rain here on Wednesday night and the guys didn’t have the stability when they turned. It just wasn’t in great condition.
“We didn’t mention it before the game because we knew we had to cope with it and not have any excuses. But it was also plainly a factor in the level of the game. I’m proud of the players in the way they got on with it and the way they adapted and played a different type of game.”
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Q: Because of the slippy nature of pitch, how difficult a decision was it to play Jamie given his recent calf injury, and was that justified given he got the opening goal?
BR: “The plan was to play Jamie. Of course, you’re always worried when it’s so heavy like that and so slippy, especially having had a calf issue. It’s something we spoke about with the staff and the medical team and we felt if we could get 60 to 70 minutes from him, that would be good for his fitness.
“The build-up to the penalty was very good, and he tucks it away really well. And he nearly gets a second.
“He brings a different dimension to our team when he plays and I thought he was excellent. I thought he worked very hard and he got his reward with the goal.”
Q: It’s amazing that he’s scored in every away game that he’s played in this season?
BR: “Yeah, it’s another really good win for us away from home. We’ve encountered different types of games performance wise.
“He’s such a threat whether we’re playing home or away, but especially if teams have to come on to you away from home.
“How he manages his runs, and the timing of his runs on the last line is superb. It was a great run, perfectly timed, and he gets brought down for the penalty. He sticks it away really well and sets us up to get a good result.”