Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Puel impact instant, Everton woes continue

Published:Monday | October 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Everton's Phil Jagielka (left) attempts an overhead kick during their English Premier League match against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England yesterday. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)
Leicester City's new manager Claude Puel reacts from the sidelines during the game against Everton, during the English Premier League match at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England yesterday. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)


After seeing the instant impact of Claude Puel at Leicester, Everton might be looking to appoint a permanent manager sooner rather than later.

Leicester was reinvigorated yesterday by Puel's altered team selection and tactics, as it produced a devastating counter-attacking goal on its way to a 2-0 victory over Everton in the English Premier League (EPL).

The recalled Demarai Gray went on a stunning run from the edge of his own box to help set up Leicester's first goal by Jamie Vardy, before adding a slightly fortuitous second himself.

Former Everton player David Unsworth is in caretaker charge of the Toffees following Ronald Koeman's dismissal, but his side's display against Leicester will have done little for his aspirations to land the role on a permanent basis.

A fourth game without a win, three of which have been losses, saw Everton stay in the relegation zone with eight points from their opening 10 games.

Also, Puel's former side Southampton drew 1-1 at Brighton, extending both sides' unbeaten runs in the EPL to three games.

Unhappy at making just nine Premier League starts last season, Gray almost left Leicester during the summer. The Foxes will be relieved they turned down significant transfer offers to keep hold of the 21-year-old.

Despite that show of faith, Gray had started just one league game this season under Craig Shakespeare, who was fired by Leicester earlier in October.




In his first game in charge, Puel adjusted Leicester's shape, moving Riyad Mahrez into a more central position to make space for Gray on the wing. It took the England Under-21 international just nine minutes to reward his new manager.

Gray picked up the ball on the edge of his own box, using his pace to evade Tom Davies before skipping past the challenge of Idrissa Gueye and releasing Mahrez with a perfectly weighted pass down the right side.

Mahrez matched Gray's precision as he crossed into the path of Vardy, who was never going to miss from close range.

Just before the half-hour mark, Gray cut in off the left flank to unleash a goal-bound cross, which was deflected in via a clumsy attempt at a clearance from Jonjoe Kenny.

Everton fought hard to get back into the game after the break, but Leicester captain Wes Morgan produced some timely interceptions to preserve his side's lead.

Leicester are up to 11th and are now unbeaten in four Premier League games.