Leicester 2-0 Everton: Jamie Vardy and Jonjoe Kenny blunder add to David Unsworth’s woe as Claude Puel claims victory in first game in charge


It was deep into stoppage time when the TV cameras cut to the Leicester dug-out and captured an image not often seen. There was Claude Puel, roaring with laughter and beaming.
The man who so often cut a solemn figure on the south coast had found instant liberation in Middle England; this was the kind of debut of which Leicester’s new manager would have dreamt.
For much of the afternoon, as the King Power Stadium reverberated to the rattle of happy clappers, Puel had seen Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez terrorise Everton’s defence and Demarai Gray banish the frustrations of prolonged inactivity under Craig Shakespeare in exhilarating style.
No wonder, then, that Puel was beaming. He maintains the perception of him being dour is wrong and here was a performance to provide substance to his argument.
Crucially, it was also an instant riposte to the fans who have questioned whether he is the right man to take Leicester forward. ‘That was the perfect start,’ Puel enthused. ‘It is very good to start with this result.
‘I was impressed with the quality in the first half. It was very interesting to see this. They tried to play good football and it was a first-class game. Fantastic!’
This was the instant lift Leicester’s owners hoped Puel would provide but change in the dug-out has not transformed Everton’s fortunes. David Unsworth’s mood was in stark contrast to his opposite number.
Everton were every bit as bad as they had been against Arsenal, the game that ended Ronald Koeman’s reign, and Leicester gleefully took advantage. Fast and aggressive, the raw pace of Vardy, Gray and Mahrez was unsettling and destabilising.
Soon they doubled their lead. Gray again tormented Davies and his cross-shot looped off Jonjoe Kenny’s foot and dropped into Jordan Pickford’s net.
Poor Kenny didn’t deserve that. He rubbed his hands against his head, his despair and frustration palpable but it wasn’t the signal for him to collapse. He kept working, running miles up and down the right flank, trying to help his side recover.
Had Andre Marriner been more decisive, Everton would have been presented with an immediate chance to get back into the game but the referee felt Christian Fuchs’s tackle on Aaron Lennon was legitimate and chose not to award a penalty. Television replays, however, showed he had erred.
Everton returned for the second period with Beni Baningime and Oumar Niasse replacing Lennon and the ineffective Kevin Mirallas, with the formation now a 4-4-2, but while they dominated possession there was never any sense of them mounting a grandstand comeback.


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