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Leicester City Coach: Iheanacho Must Work Harder

Leicester City manager Claude Puel is willing to be patient to see the best of Super Eagles forward Kelechi Iheanacho, but insists he must improve.

The Nigerian is yet to live up to his £25m price tag, scoring just once since arriving from Manchester City in the summer.

Iheanacho was afforded a real chance to impress, against his former club, in the Carabao Cup quarter-final, leading the line with Shinji Okazaki doing the donkey work behind. However, Leicester threatened more when the 21-year-old was replaced by Jamie Vardy in the second half.

But Puel praised Iheanacho’s display and, citing his youthfulness, believes he has the potential to improve.

Puel said: “(Iheanacho) tried, he shoot on target. He had a good opportunity in the first half. He gave his best.

“He’s a young player, he needs to continue to work to improve.

“It was important to see him, to give him game-time. It was a good opportunity for him and other players.

“I was happy with the squad because it was a good level of quality on the pitch and it was a good response after our game against Crystal Palace.”

Although Iheanacho’s goalscoring record at Leicester (one goal in 393 minutes) is some way shy of his Manchester City average (one goal every 100 minutes), he appears to be third in Claude Puel’s striking pecking order.

Jamie Vardy, Leicester’s talisman and top scorer, is the undisputed number one striker at the club, with Shinji Okazaki second thanks to his ability to drop deep and help the midfield.

Despite Leo Ulloa’s return to prominence of late, it was Iheanacho who was selected to start in the Carabao Cup, with Islam Slimani and Ahmed Musa out of favour.

Leicester are expected to try to offload attackers in January with Puel regularly referencing the number of strikers he has to accommodate.

For the time being, Puel believes the most important thing for his strikers to do is to maintain their optimism.

“I have a good feeling with the squad,” said Puel. “Kele, like others players, like Slimani, like Musa, they are different players. It’s important for them and for the squad.

“We have a lot of players sometimes in the same position and it’s difficult to manage this. It’s important to keep the positive attitude, for Kele it’s the same thing.”

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