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Vardy fired up for battle to secure Premier place after brave exit

Leicester City 1 Atletico Madrid 1, Atletico win 2-1 on aggregate

By Nick Mashiter

Jamie Vardy said he and his Leicester team-mates gave everything in their unsuccessful bid to prolong the club's Champions League campaign last night.

The England striker scored as the Foxes drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid in their quarter-final second leg match at the King Power Stadium - but bowed out on aggregate after Antoine Griezmann's penalty separated the teams in the Spanish capital last week.

Vardy said: "We've given our all, especially in the second half. They made a few blocks on the line which on another day would've gone in.

"We were definitely in the ascendancy, you could see the way we were playing. We brought Leo (Leonardo Ulloa) on to cause an aerial threat and it started paying dividends for us.

"They (Atletico) are probably used to playing teams who keep possession more, so we were going direct.

"It was just unfortunate we didn't get the result we wanted. It wasn't to be but at least everyone gave it their all.

"The lads can be proud of themselves, they've given everything."

On Leicester's Champions League adventure, Vardy added: "We knew it was going to be hard. Every game has been the same up to now. We had to concentrate on what we do best.

"The Champions League was a new experience for most of us, we definitely enjoyed it. Now we've got some unfinished business to stay in the Premier League."

Foxes boss Craig Shakespeare added: "We needed to leave everything out there.

"Second half, even first half we played really well.

"I had to make the change earlier than I thought, but we had them rattled with the effort and commitment we showed. It's no discredit to lose to a team of that calibre.

"The momentum was with us after Vardy's goal and we needed that second one when the opportunity came but it just wasn't to be.

"The whole club, from the supporters to the players to the owners, can be immensely proud, but I've just said to the players that they should want more of this and they've agreed that that's what they want."

The visitors controlled the tie until Vardy struck and the hosts were reinvigorated as Vardy, Leonardo Ulloa and Riyad Mahrez all went close to adding a second.

Saul's header proved crucial though as Diego Simeone's side - beaten finalists in two of the last three years - squeezed into the semi-finals in search of their maiden Champions League crown.

And Leicester may now be without captain Wes Morgan - who returned after a six-game absence with a back injury - for the rest of the season after he limped out late with an apparent hamstring injury.

Atletico Madrid manager Simeone said: "I'm full of emotion and pride at the performance of my team.

"I also have to say, what a great performance from our opponents.

"It was almost a pleasure to compete against them," Simeone added.

Leicester now exit the Champions League unbeaten at home in their first campaign

The Foxes return to Premier League action with an away game at Arsenal next Wednesday, followed three days later with another away game at West Brom.

But if they can keep on showing this level of spirit, they will be as safe as houses.

Leicester City:  Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane (Chilwell 45), Morgan (Amartey 84), Fuchs, Mahrez, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Albrighton, Okazaki (Ulloa 45), Vardy. Subs not used: Zieler, Musa, King, Gray. Goals: Vardy (61)

Atletico Madrid: Oblak, Juanfran (Lucas 55), Godin, Savic, Filipe Luis (Correa 74), Gimenez, Gabi, Koke, Saul, Carrasco (Torres 69), Griezmann. Subs not used: Moya, Thomas, Nico Gaitan, Gameiro. Goals: Saul (26)

Man of the Match: Saul

Attendance: 31,548

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)

Match rating: 7/10

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