Belfast Telegraph

Ranieri defends Vardy's bench berth

Leicester City 3 Crystal Palace 1

By Robert Jones

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri insisted Jamie Vardy was rested rather than dropped against Crystal Palace.

The striker was introduced in the second-half of Saturday's 3-1 win as Ahmed Musa, Shinji Okazaki and Christian Fuchs wrapped up the Foxes' first league victory for over a month.

It was the first time since March 2015 Vardy did not start a Premier League game when available but Ranieri wanted to keep him fresh as the Foxes juggle their Champions League campaign.

"It's normal because we have to play so many matches. All the matches are important and when you see Okazaki and Musa in training I have to put them on the pitch," Ranieri said.

"It wasn't (because) of injury, if he was injured he wouldn't have come with me on the bench. I don't know if he needed a rest but if I don't have Shinji, Musa and (Leonardo) Ulloa maybe I have to play him but when you have some good players it's right to have a rest.

"Always I tinker, when we play every few days it's important to choose the right player, this time I left Vardy and (Marc) Albrighton out."

Fuchs scored his first Leicester goal with a 25-yard half volley after signing a new three-year contract on Friday and Ranieri joked the Austria international will now look for another extension.

He added: "I'm angry with him because he has this quality and only today he scores a goal? Now he wants another three years on the contract to score another goal?"

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