Gallagher Premiership Weekend Preview - Round 25 guideMay 19 | 5 min read
Brendan Rodgers hails Jamie Vardy after double helps beat Norwich
Vardy has 14 goals despite an injury-hit season.
Brendan Rodgers saluted Jamie Vardy after his brace saw Leicester stroll past Norwich.
The striker’s double ended the Foxes’ seven-game winless run and lifted them to 10th in the Premier League with a 3-0 win.
James Maddison also netted against his rock-bottom former club with the hosts easing to victory in the second half.
Vardy has battled knee and hamstring injuries this year – only starting 17 top-flight games this season – but has still managed 14 goals in all competitions.
Rodgers said: “It’s been a tough season for him, for players it’s about rhythm and playing. He is such a brilliant guy, so hungry and he showed that this evening. Two really good goals and he was a real threat.
“I kept him on to see if he can get his hat-trick. He’s older now so every minute counts. He gave everything.
“He was tireless, chasing lost causes, getting blocks. The ball didn’t quite fall for him sometimes but he was outstanding and the second goal was fantastic.
“We were much better in the second half, the first half was too passive and we weren’t aggressive enough.
“We needed to change the structure of the team and the midfield and from the first roll of the ball in the second half we were very good.
“I said to the players, we don’t want to go out with a whimper this season, it felt a bit flat at the weekend. We had a good chat and we want to finish in the top 10 and put a marker down for next season.”
Angus Gunn kept the Foxes out early on when he parried Maddison’s strike and foiled Vardy on the rebound.
The goalkeeper, in for the axed Tim Krul, also turned Maddison’s drive wide before Leicester let Norwich off the hook and back into the game.
The Canaries managed to create chances of their own and Kasper Schmeichel denied Tony Springett and Teemu Pukki.
Gunn kept Ademola Lookman out before already relegated Norwich should have taken the lead in first-half injury time.
The busy Springett bullied Maddison off the ball and sent Pukki away with the striker leaving Daniel Amartey on the floor.
It left him with just Schmeichel to beat but he smacked the post and, with it, Norwich’s hopes disappeared.
Nine minutes into the second half Vardy linked with Harvey Barnes and his deflected strike looped in off Grant Hanley.
The striker grabbed his second eight minutes later when he again combined with Barnes and buried past Gunn from 10 yards.
Maddison then added a third with 20 minutes left when he lashed in after Gunn parried Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s cross.
“It was a better performance but a similar result,” said Norwich boss Dean Smith after their 25th league defeat of the season.
“They started better than we did but we grew into the game, confidence started growing and we created some good chances.
“We found it difficult to live with the tempo in the second half and the first goal changes our mindset and from then we had to suffer. It became a damage limitation exercise.
“I’ve applied to the Premier League to see if we can play Wolves on Thursday and Tottenham on Friday (to end the season quickly).”