Brendan Rodgers heaps praise on his Leicester side for their ‘incredible start’ after win over Wolves sent them top of the Premier League – but admits: ‘I can’t promise a title challenge’
Brendan Rodgers vowed that Leicester will fight to maintain their challenge at the top of the Premier League.
Jamie Vardy’s penalty sealed a 1-0 win over Wolves as the Foxes went top of the table on Sunday.
The striker, who scored his eighth league goal this season to go top of the goalscoring charts alongside Son Heung-min and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, also had a second spot kick saved by Rui Patricio but the Foxes have now won six straight games in all competitions – three in the league.
Brendan Rodgers watched his side grind out an important win after Jamie Vardy’s early penalty
No player has scored more than Vardy (8) in the Premier League this season after his winner
They go to Liverpool next and while Foxes boss Rodgers urged caution, he insisted his squad will keep pushing.
He said: ‘It’s been an incredible start, I’m so happy for the players.
‘We couldn’t have asked for a better start. I have always said failure is learning and if anyone says us not getting into the Champions League last season was failing then, OK. For us it was about learning and developing.
‘It’s going to be tough to sustain that with the injuries we’ve had but we have played 12 games and won nine in all competitions. It has been an incredible focus. Our idea is to sustain that but I can’t promise.
‘We had to show a different side to the team. The first half we were very good without the football and in the second half we had to show real resilience.
‘We have seen that this season, the players are developing and to show that mentality and desire is so pleasing.’
Vardy grabbed the winner after 15 minutes after Max Kilman handled Dennis Praet’s cross in the box.
It needed a VAR intervention after referee Anthony Taylor failed to give it, but the official pointed to the spot having checked the monitor.
Wolves were poor but Patricio bailed them out six minutes before the break, denying Vardy a second.
The first penalty was awarded after Dennis Praet’s cross struck Max Kilman’s left arm in the box
Anthony Taylor blows his whistle to give the first spot kick having consulted the VAR monitor
Rayan Ait-Nouri failed to control a high ball to allow James Justin to wriggle in front of him and the Frenchmn brought the defender down for another penalty.
Vardy’s strike was poor though and, while it was powerful, it was too close to Patricio who dived right to parry and the rebound hit the striker to drop wide.
Rodgers added: ‘I don’t want to dedicate too much time as there’s so much of it, whether it’s (the hand) in a natural or unnatural position.’
Wolves improved after the break but Patricio still needed to turn Vardy’s fierce angled drive over.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side tried to find a leveller and Kasper Schmeichel’s fine save denied Ruben Neves an equaliser.
Neves remonstrated with referee Taylor at the final whistle, while Nuno called for greater consistency.
Rui Patricio kept out Vardy’s second penalty as the ball ricocheted off him and went wide
Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves airs his grievances after key decisions went against his side
He said: ‘It’s very hard to judge the work of the referee, he saw it on the screen, but it’s difficult for us to coach a player and tell him he must put his arms away.
‘It’s very hard. We want good and fair decisions.
‘What we expect from VAR is fair and simple decisions and this is not happening. Until they get it right we will talk about it over and over again.
‘We will keep on improving. All the squad will now basically go (for international duty) and we hope they return healthy.
‘We are always looking for improvements, the players are working very hard and it’s up to us to improve them and get them to fine levels of performance.’
Nuno Espirito Santo called for consistency on VAR handball calls after the Kilman incident