Belfast Telegraph

Yes Ndidi, Leicester can use cup run to lift bid for safety: King

By Sean Taylor

Midfielder Andy King believes the club can use their FA Cup heroics as a springboard to boost their Premier League survival hopes after they saw off Derby 3-1 in a fourth-round replay at the King Power Stadium.

The home side took the lead at the start of the second half as Marc Albrighton headed into King's path in front of goal and the Wales midfielder glanced the ball past goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell from close range.

Albrighton conceded a free-kick for a boot near Jacob Butterfield's head and Abdoul Camara's resulting free-kick deflected off Ben Chilwell into the Leicester goal to level matters just after the hour mark.

But Wilfred Ndidi (right) fired home with his first goal for the club - a stinging effort from the edge of the 18-yard box four minutes into extra-time - before Foxes team-mate Demarai Gray sealed the win with a brilliant bit of skill with six minutes remaining.

King said: "It was important to get a win tonight to try and kick-start some form to take into the league. It's been a tough few weeks for us and we've taken a lot of criticism but I think tonight shows the fight that we've got in the squad."

Leicester have been drawn away to League One side Millwall in the fifth round and King is confident their cup run can only be positive for the champions in the league.

He added: "Hopefully this run can kick-start it (our season).

"We've got 14 massive games in the league. We've come through a couple of rounds in the cup now so why can't we make another journey out of that this season?"

Gray's goal was his second of the season for the Foxes after he scored another great effort against Manchester United in September.

The 20-year-old hopes to influence more matches as Leicester battle against the drop at the wrong end of the table.

He said: "It was nice to actually get on the scoresheet and take a bit of pressure off us because when you get into extra-time it gets tough.

"That's what I'm looking to do, score as much as possible and make an impact when I play."

The replay victory will be a relief for Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri, who on Tuesday was given a vote of confidence by the club following a miserable run of results which has seen their title defence descend into a relegation dogfight.

Ranieri said: "In this moment everything goes wrong - but tonight one thing went right.

"Derby played good football and we won. This is what we needed and I wanted. Wilfred Ndidi got a very good goal as did Demarai Gray.

"I'm happy with Ndidi. This young player is full of personality and good character. We've chosen well.

"We want to do well in all competitions. We want to go forward in the FA Cup. The Premier League is not so good but we have to stay in the Premier League. This fresh air is good for the players."

Belfast Telegraph


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