Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare has jumped to the defence of Jamie Vardy, insisting the striker is not a cheat.
The forward was labelled a cheat by Sevilla’s Samir Nasri after the Foxes knocked the Spanish side out of the Champions League on Tuesday.
Referee Daniele Orsato showed both players the yellow card after the pair butted heads, with the Frenchman later dismissed for a second caution.
On-loan Manchester City midfielder Nasri felt Vardy conned the official, saying: “For me he’s a cheat because if he was a foreign player you, the English press, would be saying he’s a cheat. They were winning 2-0, play the game like a man.”
But Shakespeare responded by backing his man on Thursday.
He said: “Jamie’s not a cheat and never has been, never will be. I think Jamie responded well to the comment and we have to put it to bed. The game has gone, the referee made his decision and we have to move on.”
Vardy, who has nine goals to his name this season, has been included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this month’s friendly against Germany and World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.
He has scored three times in his last four games, having netted just three times in the previous 26 games – a hat-trick against Manchester City – but Shakespeare was never worried by the striker’s dry stint.
“Tell me a forward who hasn’t gone through that spell,” the Foxes boss said. “It happens. With Jamie’s reaction, you could see the joy in terms of the first goal he got. Strikers live and die by their goals but the overall performance of forwards is vitally important.
“There are some good ones (strikers) and he is proven in terms of being in the (England) squad before so he’s up there with the rest of them.”
Leicester go to West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday as the last remaining British club in the Champions League after Manchester City’s exit to Monaco but, ahead of Friday’s draw for the last eight, Shakespeare is not concerned by that tag.
He added: “My thoughts aren’t about that. It’s about the fact we put in a performance Tuesday, and that’s our aim. Looking forward, we have to make sure we’re competitive, but every game we go into, we try to get a result.”
Defensive midfielder Nampalys Mendy is rated 50-50 for the trip to the London Stadium, having returned to training this week following a knee injury.