It was a drab first-half between Sunderland and Leicester at the Stadium of Light and it was hardly surprising.
It was a crucial match for both sides for very different reasons. Sunderland are embroiled in a relegation fight while Leicester are closing in on an incredible title triumph.
The opening 45 minutes represented that with an extremely cagey affair.
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A win for Leicester would have put them 10 points clear at the top of the league with just five matches remaining - for a few hours at least.
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri knew how important the match was and he faced a crucial 15 minutes at the half-time interval.
He needed to inspire his players to victory and focused on one player in particular, Jamie Vardy.
Vardy has been one of the stories of the season with his goals helping his club sit atop of the Premier League.
But Vardy hadn’t scored for six matches before the clash with Sunderland and the Foxes had stumbled their way through the previous four games as a result - winning 1-0 in each of them.
They needed Vardy now, more than ever.
“At half-time, I said to him: ‘Come on Jamie, we need you, I need you’ I told him. And he scored twice,” Ranieri said in his post-match conference, per The Mirror.
Hardly the greatest motivational speech ever, but it did the trick.
Vardy’s brace put his side 10 points clear - although that gap was reduced back to seven after Spurs beat Manchester United 3-0.
Reason to celebrate
But the club still had reason to celebrate the Tottenham win. That’s because it meant that they have now achieved a top-four finish and qualified for next season’s Champions League.
While this incredible achievement is something everyone associated with the club must be proud of, they will be disappointed if they don’t finish the job of securing the title.
The final run-in
Three more victories will guarantee Premier League glory with home matches against West Ham and Swansea to come.
They then travel to Manchester United before playing Everton at the King Power Stadium. They finish the season with a trip to Chelsea on the final day.
Ranieri might need to rally Vardy once again ahead of the final five matches with more of his ‘inspirational’ team-talks.
While Vardy will be desperate his side win the Premier League, he is also hoping to win something on an individual level. His 21 league goals puts him just one goal behind Harry Kane in the hunt for the golden boot while he has a chance to win the PFA Player of the Year for his incredible performances this campaign.
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