Leicester (England), Feb 28 (IANS) Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has asserted that the criticism following the sacking of former manager Claudio Ranieri fired up his teammamtes ahead of their English Premier League (EPL) clash against Liverpool.

Leicester outclassed Liverpool 3-1 here late on Monday evening ending a run of five successive EPL defeats.

It was their first EPL match following the removal of the experienced Ranieri as manager. The Italian had scripted a dream run for Leicester last season, guiding them to their first-ever EPL title.

But with the team languishing near the bottom of the table this season, the club management had decided to sack Ranieri last week, inviting a barrage of criticism.

There has also been speculation that the Leicester players had conspired to get rid of Ranieri, who is extremely popular among the club’s supporters.

“There has been a lot of unfair stuff written and you’ve seen a reaction from everyone. It definitely got us fired up in a good way to put a reaction on the pitch,” Vardy was quoted as saying by the Guardian on Tuesday.

“The mood is a bit of joy and relief. We deserved it and now we have to make sure we keep the continuity going and it will drag us away from the position we’re in.”

Vardy, who scored once in each half to help Leicester to their first EPL win of he year, backed interim manager Craig Shakespeare to take over the job full time by the end of the season.

Shakespeare, who worked as an assistant to Ranieri during the latter’s stint at the club, reinstated Shinji Okazaki to the starting lineup and reverted to the tactics that had proved to be extremely successful for Leicester last season.

“Before the game we spoke with Shakes and he asked us what we thought were the best actions to take. We thought it was to press higher and win the ball higher up. We did that and hurt them,” Vardy said.

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