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Boss Enzo Maresca brushes off fans’ criticism as Leicester march on

Leicester manager Enzo Maresca celebrates victory over Stoke (Barrington Coombs/PA).
Leicester manager Enzo Maresca celebrates victory over Stoke (Barrington Coombs/PA).

Leicester boss Enzo Maresca is content to ignore criticism from some Foxes fans after seeing his side move 11 points clear at the top of the Championship with a 5-0 demolition of Stoke.

Doubles from Patson Daka and Jamie Vardy helped the visitors take another step toward an immediate return to the Premier League.

Daka opened the scoring with a tap-in shortly before Kasey McAteer’s deflected long-range strike doubled the Foxes’ lead.

After the restart the in-form Daka converted Leicester’s first penalty of the afternoon for a sixth goal in eight games.

Substitute Vardy then notched his ninth and 10th goals of the season, his second deep in stoppage time also from the penalty spot.

It was the league leaders’ biggest victory of the season, much to the delight of boss Maresca.

“The most important thing for me is the way that the team is getting better,” said the Leicester boss.

“I don’t like it when people hurt the players, because I know the effort that they’re doing to bring this club back to the Premier League.

“Since the start, I see the way that they’re working and I know that they’re doing everything they can.

“If some of the fans aren’t sure or convinced, it doesn’t matter to me. The performance was very good today and that experience will make us better.

“I’m very happy with the result and the clean sheet, especially with the first half-an-hour, that was very good and we played the way that we like to play.

“The last 10 minutes of the first half, we conceded two yellow cards that we needed to avoid as it could compromise the game, but that was it.

“We’re very happy and when we play away, the environment is always nice and the players and fans together enjoy the moment.

“I’ve said many times, our fans are unbelievable. At home some of them maybe aren’t convinced, but it is what it is.

“It’s important for us to have lots of options and every time we need them, they help, so we’re very happy.”

It was another dismal afternoon for Stoke, whose winless run at home now stands at nine games, dating back to October.

“We were miles off it and they were just too good for us,” said boss Steven Schumacher, who oversaw a third defeat on the spin.

“They showed today why they’re top of the league. They’ve done everything properly, but they didn’t have to work hard at all.

“We didn’t have the belief or the quality. We tried, but they had too much for us and their goals were too easy.

“We knew we were coming up the best team, this result wasn’t going to determine the outcome of the rest of the season, but the next two might do.

“I need to make sure that we respond and put in a better performance and try to get a win.

“It’s three games now with three defeats and we need to do something about it, so Blackburn’s going to be a big game at the weekend.

“We need to get the players ready for it. We have to react and we won’t go away and sulk.

“There’s a real lack of confidence at home. When things go against us or there’s a little adversity, the crowd turns against us and it affects the players.

“We have to work hard to try and change that now.”