Leicester City 2, Everton 0: Demarai Gray shines as Claude Puel enjoys winning start as Foxes boss

Frank Dalleres
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Gray (left) scored one and played a key role in the other Leicester goal (Source: Getty)

Leicester City 2, Everton 0

Leicester manager Claude Puel savoured a winning start to his tenure after the Foxes produced flashes of their Premier League title-winning best to heap more misery on struggling Everton.

England striker Jamie Vardy finished a glorious sweeping move to open the scoring and recalled winger Demarai Gray’s shot was helped in by Toffees defender Jonjoe Kenny for the second.

Read more: New Leicester boss Puel described as "perfect fit"

Victory was only Leicester’s third in the top flight this term and lifted them to 11th in the table, while Everton remain 18th after a fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions.

“It was impressive because they played very well in the first half, with good combinations between the players and a fantastic first goal,” said former Southampton manager Puel.

“It was a little more difficult in the second half because Everton is a very good team and they tried to come back into the game. But we saw a Leicester team with a good attitude, good structure and a lot of solidarity. It’s a very good result.”

Everton caretaker boss David Unsworth pleaded for more time after suffering back-to-back losses since stepping in for the sacked Ronald Koeman last week.

“Whoever gets the honour of being the Everton manager, myself included, needs time with this set of players because you all have your different ideas,” Unsworth said.

“Every manager has their ideas about how they want to play – I certainly do – and you need time on the training ground to implement those ideas.

“The second half was much better and the positivity and the way we wanted to play on the front foot was there for all to see, but we gave them a two-goal start and for the first half we didn’t perform.”

Puel, fired by Southampton in May after just one season despite finishing eighth, handed Gray only a second league start of the campaign and he repaid the Frenchman’s faith with a sparkling display.

Gray created Leicester’s first goal on 18 minutes with a dazzling 50-yard run, beating Tom Davies, Idrissa Gueye and Wayne Rooney before teeing up Riyad Mahrez to cross for Vardy, who finished emphatically.

The 21-year-old claimed the second goal 11 minutes later – his first in the league for more than a year – despite the shot being helped past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford by Kenny’s sliced attempted clearance.

Everton might have been handed a first-half lifeline when Christian Fuchs’s mistimed challenge appeared to give winger Aaron Lennon a strong penalty claim but referee Andre Marriner waved play on.

Read more: Trevor Steven: Why Unsworth is the man to turn Everton around

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