Leicester's players believed until the end, says boss Claude Puel
Last Updated: 03/03/18 7:51pm
Claude Puel praised his players for not giving up after Riyad Mahrez's brilliant injury-time free-kick earned Leicester a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.
The home side had appeared set for a surprise home defeat following Josh King's 35th-minute penalty, only for Mahrez to rescue a point in the seventh minute of stoppage time.
Despite going a fifth Premier League game without a win, Puel was still delighted with Leicester's fighting spirit.
"This moment is tough for us, we have dropped a lot of points at home and it was another game without good reward," he said.
"We started the game well with good intensity, tempo, desire, pressing. But the injury to Daniel Amartey changed our game and system a little and perhaps it was not a good option that we conceded a goal.
"But on the good play it was not too bad with good mentality, pressing and quality and we came back in the second half with the same conviction and desire.
"It was attack against defence against a good team and it was the minimum to get something from the game with this draw. I was proud of my players because with all these things against us, they kept believing until the end and we were rewarded by Riyad with a point.
"Of course this is not enough, but it is a good feeling, a fantastic mentality by my players because they believed until the end and it is a good reward at the end."
However, Puel admitted that when Mahrez stepped up to take Leicester's last-gasp free kick, he was not confident of the Algerian scoring.
"I cannot say I was optimistic, like my players I believed until the end and the last opportunity. I know it was the last opportunity for us," he said.
"And I know he is a good player under pressure and he scored it. And like Jamie Vardy, we have some great players in our squad and in this condition in the last seconds of the game, it is a pleasure and amazing this goal."
And the Frenchman says Mahrez, whose goal was his 36th in the Premier League for Leicester, deserves credit for the way he has returned to the team after his January move to Manchester City fell through.
"I said when he came back it was important to give him good support by our fans, the staff, his team-mates, because he came back with a positive attitude and hard work," said Puel.
"In the training sessions he gave his best, in the games he showed his quality and his good mentality. It was difficult for him this transfer window and period.
"But he came into the squad with a positive attitude and congratulations to him because it is never easy to come back in this condition and to give his best."