Claude Puel has branded Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy a “child who needs attention”, but insists he has no regrets about his unsuccessful spell with the Foxes.
Puel’s replacement, Brendan Rodgers has guided the club to second in the Premier League title and nobody has scored more goals since the Northern Irishman took over than Vardy, who was a bit-part player under the former Southampton manager.
The fractious relationship with the club’s star player was seen as instrumental in Puel’s departure and the Frenchman acknowledges blame on both sides, while saying they got along fine.
“I did not have a problem with Jamie,” he told The Daily Mail.
“Jamie is a good man but sometimes he is like a child: he needs support, he needs attention. It was difficult for me because I was not English, it was difficult to share and explain all my feelings with him.
“When I arrived at Leicester, he scored a lot of goals. He came back from the World Cup injured, he returned without training sessions. It was difficult for me to use him all the time. I have a lot of time for him.”
Now coaching at St. Etienne in Ligue 1, Puel is unsurprised at Leicester’s success and justifiably proud of his role in it.
Outside of Vardy, many of Leicester’s star men this season were either signed or given their first chance by him.
Players like James Maddison, Ricardo Pereira and Caglar Soyuncu owe their presence in East Midlands to Puel, who is happy to see them thrive.
“It is not a surprise for me to see Leicester in this position this year,” he adds
‘It is the same team, except for Ayoze Perez. It is the same strategy. It is a pleasure to see.
“Brendan has done a fantastic job. If you look at this team and remember the one that won the title, the whole style has changed.
“It was my work at the beginning to put in place a team with the possibility to make this progress.”
Leicester take on Aston Villa on Sunday with the chance to open up a six-point lead over third-placed Manchester City.
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