Leicester City midfielder Marc Albrighton has hailed the “terrific” Shinji Okazaki after his winning goal secured a vital 1-0 win over Newcastle in the Premier League.
The Japan striker scored a brilliant overhead kick to earn the Foxes a 1-0 victory over Newcastle that restored their five-point lead at the top of the league.
It was a significant statement from Claudio Ranieri’s men after Tottenham won at Aston Villa on Sunday to close the gap, with Okazaki the difference between the sides.
The 29-year-old has been one of a number of impressive support stars to leading marksman Jamie Vardy and winger Albrighton was full of praise for the former Mainz man.
Speaking to Leicester’s official club website, Albrighton said: “He’s always there in the penalty or six-yard box.
“He’s scored a couple of scrappy goals this season but that was definitely up there with one of the best this season.
“The skill and technique involved in his finish was superb so credit to him. He’s been terrific for us this season and the goals are coming with it.”
It was far from a stellar performance from Ranieri’s side – certainly not one in the manner they have become accustomed with playing this season, but as the end of the campaign comes onto the horizon, the points were the most important thing.
“It was quite a scrappy game and it wasn’t the best that we’ve played this season,” Albrighton added. “I thought Newcastle gave a good account of themselves – they stuck in the game.
“They made it difficult for us but at this stage of the season the most important thing about a football match is the result and we managed to get all three points today which was crucial.
“One-nil is always a difficult scoreline because the other team always feels like they’ve got the chance to get back in it. One chance or bit of luck can put you on level terms and it could swing their way.
“It’s not a nice scoreline but we dug in and I thought our game management towards the end was superb.”
Leicester face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday knowing that a win will see them go eight points clear at the top of the Premier League, with Spurs facing Bournemouth at White Hart Lane the following day.