Ulloa highlights Leicester spirit

Date published: Monday 18th April 2016 3:56

Leonardo Ulloa: Celebrates his late penalty

Leonardo Ulloa: Celebrates his late penalty

Leonardo Ulloa highlighted the spirit within the Leicester camp after his stoppage-time penalty salvaged a crucial point for the title-chasing Foxes against West Ham.

Sunday’s Barclays Premier League clash at the King Power Stadium was both frantic and fractious, with goalscorer Jamie Vardy sent off by referee Jonathan Moss for an apparent dive.

Andy Carroll’s late spot-kick was followed by a stunning Aaron Cresswell strike to put the Hammers on course for a victory, only to be denied by a controversial stoppage-time penalty.

Substitute Ulloa converted to secure a 2-2 draw that took Leicester’s lead to eight points, although Tottenham can reduce the deficit at Stoke on Monday.

“We had one player less, so (Claudio Ranieri) told me to stay in the middle, keep the ball and put on pressure when we can,” Ulloa said.

“It was a difficult moment because we were down to 10 men, but we defended well and then attacked when we could.

“We showed great character. I love to play with this team because we all fight together.

“We fight together until the last minute and we got the penalty, and afterwards we are all happy.

“I love to play with this team because they have this character when we are losing or in a bad situation. We are always fighting together.

“We are a team and that is more important, not for me but for everyone. When we are on the pitch, we work together and help each other.”

The mental strength was particularly evident in Ulloa, who did not let the enormity of the late penalty get to him.

“I didn’t think about the pressure of the situation at that moment,” said the striker, whose winner against Norwich in February created an earthquake measuring 0.3 on the Richter scale.

“I felt after I scored how important the goal was. The feeling was so good.

“I appreciated the moment and everyone enjoyed it. I know about this earthquake, but I just enjoy it when I can when I score some goals.”

Ulloa is set to start when Leicester return to action against Swansea on Sunday, with top scorer Vardy absent through suspension.

Fellow substitute Carroll could also return to the line-up on Wednesday when West Ham face Watford, having impressed following his half-time introduction at the King Power Stadium.

The 27-year-old was furious to have a late penalty awarded against him and believes Slaven Bilic’s men deserved all three points.

“It’s a good point but we keep saying that,” Carroll said. “When we should have three, it’s not really that good.

“It was a tough game, but we played well. We had a chance early on and it didn’t go in but we kept on working even when we were one down and we eventually got the two goals that we deserved.

“We’re footballers and when the games come thick and fast, we enjoy it and we’re looking forward to Wednesday.”

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