Soccer

Unbelievable – Enzo Maresca unhappy with gap in rest times for Midlands rivals

Enzo Maresca was unhappy with the different amounts of recovery time Leicester and West Brom enjoyed (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Enzo Maresca was unhappy with the different amounts of recovery time Leicester and West Brom enjoyed (Bradley Collyer/PA) Enzo Maresca was unhappy with the different amounts of recovery time Leicester and West Brom enjoyed (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Leicester manager Enzo Maresca said it was “unbelievable” his team were given less time to recover than opponents West Brom despite beating them 2-1 in a dramatic late finish.

The Foxes briefly extended their lead at the top of the Sky Bet Championship to four points after Harry Winks scored a stoppage-time winner to cancel out substitute Josh Maja’s 89th-minute equaliser.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall put Leicester in front after 72 minutes before unselfishly opting to set up Winks four minutes into time added on.

“It was a very difficult game because of them and because when you play Wednesday night and Saturday lunchtime it’s not easy, and they played Tuesday night, so they had 24 hours more to recover the energy,” said Maresca.

“For me it’s unbelievable when you play Wednesday night and Saturday – both teams have to play together (at the same time), not one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday because the difference is huge.”

Maresca claimed some of his players were tired during the game.

“Wilfred (Ndidi) came back from a long-term injury, we gave him some rest on Wednesday night but you could see he wasn’t fresh,” added the Italian.

“Wout Faes did a big effort to be there, and Jannik (Vestergaard), JJ (James Justin) the same.”

Dewsbury-Hall was Leicester’s standout player after scoring his sixth goal of the season and setting up the other, but Maresca wants more from him.

“In terms of goals, he is where he has to be, but with assists I’m not happy, because this one was quite easy,” he said. “He has to improve his last pass because he’s had many chances.”

Leicester led in the 72nd minute when Dewsbury-Hall headed home Ndidi’s cross.

Albion equalised in the 89th minute when Faes headed away Darnell Furlong’s throw-in and, when the ball came back in, Cedric Kipre helped it on and the grounded Ricardo Pereira could only tee up Maja to net his first Albion goal.

For the winner, Leicester broke following a long Albion throw-in and Kelechi Iheanacho found Dewsbury-Hall, who dribbled 40 yards before drawing Alex Palmer and slipping in Winks.

West Brom head coach Carlos Corberan admitted he had no regrets at going for broke instead of settling for a draw after the equaliser.

“We weren’t trying to defend the result – we were attacking how I think you need to attack, but prior to the throw-in we should have defended more calmly, not as aggressive so as not to give them the option to score,” he said.

“We attacked how we always attack. Sometimes to change something is negative.

“If I told my centre-backs not to go up (to join the attack), having scored a goal two minutes ago, at home, I’d have regretted this.

“There are many small aspects to correct – not just because we lost, but to not suffer transitions against opponents.

“The next time we have a throw-in, we must be prepared to not only try to score, but to try to score without the risk of suffering the transition.

“In the 93rd minute, sometimes you make mistakes because of the emotion, not even the emotion to attack, but the emotion to recover the ball, to help your team and to try to make a foul, to keep running.

“We are humans, this is why football is magic. These things happen.”