Leicester ‘really wanted it’, says captain Wes Morgan after pace-setters march on in Premier League
Foxes edge Southampton 1-0, with skipper’s first goal in almost a year, to move seven points clear in race for title
Leicester City match-winner Wes Morgan said desire had been the key ingredient after his side sank Southampton 1-0 on Sunday to move seven points clear in the English Premier League.
The 32-year-old Jamaica centre back headed home a cross from Christian Fuchs in the 38th minute to end an 11-month goal drought and leave underdogs Leicester needing 12 points from their last six games to claim the first top-flight title in their 132-year history.
Second-place Tottenham Hotspur had inadvertently left the door open after drawing 1-1 at Liverpool on Saturday and Leicester captain Morgan said that he and his teammates had been determined to take advantage.
“We saw the [Tottenham] game was a draw and wanted to make the most of our opportunity. We really wanted it today,” he told Sky Sports at the King Power Stadium.
“I’ve been getting a lot of stick because I haven’t scored all season, so it’s great to shut them up. I was quite ill yesterday, but obviously I wanted to play.”
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said: “Everyone is expecting something more for us and we are in the cloud, but we have to keep concentrating.
“I don’t want to think about champions. I want to focus on the match. There is a chance for us to be champions this season, but we have to be professional.”
Leicester were bottom of the table a year ago, but are now within sight of one of the most sensational underdog triumphs in world football history.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman, whose side remain seventh, was left to rue two penalty appeals for handball in each half that were turned away by referee Michael Oliver.
“This is a big match,” Koeman said. “It is about the Premier League title and our ambitions to play in Europe.
“I don’t say they don’t deserve the victory, that they don’t fight and have amazing spirit, but if it is a penalty and a red card, they don’t win.”
Southhampton’s best chance saw Graziano Pelle free Sadio Mane, who rounded Kasper Schmeichel and shot, only for the ball to strike Danny Simpson’s right forearm as he came across to cover the vacant goal. Southampton appealed for a penalty, but the right-back’s arm had remained close to his body so referee Oliver waved play on.
With Southampton poised to poop the party, Leicester struck, Christian Fuchs guiding a cross into the box from the left flank and Morgan outjumping Jordie Clasie to plant a captain’s header inside the left-hand post.
Later in the match and seconds after coming on, Charlie Austin had a strong penalty appeal when his shot struck Robert Huth’s outstretched left hand, but to the frustration of Southampton – and Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City – Oliver was again unmoved.
Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha provided free doughnuts and bottles of beer for home fans to mark his birthday and “Leicester City Champions 2016” scarves for sale on the walk to the ground.