Belfast Telegraph

Cambiasso earns Pearson plaudits

Nigel Pearson praised the impact made by Esteban Cambiasso on his Premier League debut as Leicester secured their first victory of the season.

The Foxes defeated Stoke 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium, with record signing Leonardo Ulloa netting his third of the campaign in the 64th minute.

Leicester, who had not won a Premier League game since their last season in the top flight in 2003/04, were outplayed in the first half but the game changed when Pearson sent on Cambiasso and Danny Drinkwater for the start of the second half.

Cambiasso settled into the team immediately and began to pull the strings in midfield on his first appearance since moving from Inter Milan at the end of the transfer window.

Leciester boss Pearson said: "We didn't feel we played with the same sort of control we have in our other games so far this season.

"The changes at half-time certainly allowed us to get a little bit more control. We changed the shape and a couple of personnel, which allowed us to get back into the game.

"His (Cambiasso's) game management is exceptional. He's not had the success he's had over his career without showing qualities, not just with the ball but in terms of his organisational skills.

"He was a very important influence on the game in the second half. But we functioned better as a team as well.

"There were a lot of goalmouth incidents in the game and at times we had to, not ride our luck but defend with a lot of commitment. It wasn't an easy game by any stretch of the imagination.

"I think 45 minutes for him (Cambiasso) was probably about right in terms of an introduction to English football and I'm pleased that he's played his part in what is a very important win for us."

Another Premier League debutant for Leicester was goalkeeper Ben Hamer, who stepped in after Kasper Schmeichel picked up a knee injury on international duty.

It is the first league game Schmeichel has missed since signing for Leicester three years ago.

Hamer, a summer signing from Charlton, had some shaky moments in the first half but grew in confidence and earned a point for his side with terrific late saves from Mame Biram Diouf and Victor Moses.

Pearson said: "I thought he handled the occasion exceptionally well when you consider he's replacing a player who's been one of our top performers over the last three or four years.

"There were aspects of his performance we would like to improve but he made some key saves for us in the second half. The very fact we didn't really look too flustered reflects that the players have faith in his ability."

Stoke stunned Manchester City at the Etihad in their last match but have yet to pick up a point at home or score a league goal, leaving manager Mark Hughes very frustrated.

Hughes felt his side dominated the game and was unhappy that Peter Crouch was not given a penalty for an apparent push in the back.

"I thought for the most part we did okay today," said the Welshman.

"I was pleased at half-time, albeit we just needed that break at the right time. Unfortunately nothing dropped for us.

"At some point in the Premier League the opposition will get an opportunity. Then it's important that we defend that situation correctly but unfortunately we didn't.

"We've got to find a way because we've talked about this at length, that teams will come here and show us respect in terms of what we can do to them, so they will set up and try and frustrate us.

"We did a similar thing at Manchester City and got a positive result, and everyone's patting us on the back. So we can't moan and groan about it because it's good play."

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