Leicester boss Claude Puel wary of Everton threat

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Leicester boss Claude Puel has warned his players they will face a very different Everton team to the one against which he launched his reign when they meet again on Wednesday evening.

The Frenchman began his career at the King Power Stadium in style back in October last year when goals from Jamie Vardy and Demarai Gray secured a 2-0 Premier League victory over the then managerless Toffees.

Since that day, Leicester have gone from strength to strength and head for Goodison Park sitting in seventh place in the league table, although Puel is wary of the quality Ronald Koeman’s successor Sam Allardyce now has at his disposal.

He told a press conference: “It’s a great team with quality in the squad. I know they have spent £200million in the last 12 months on fantastic players with quality, and we know this team is dangerous with a lot of quality.

“We will have to have a good focus and concentration on them. It’s not the same team as in my first game with Leicester. They were not confident.

“Now, they are playing well with confidence and it will be a tough game.”

Everton fans may take issue with Puel’s assessment, however, with Allardyce finding himself under pressure after seven games in all competitions without a win and a 1-1 home draw with West Brom last time out having ended a run of four successive defeats.

By contrast, the Foxes will arrive on the blue side of Merseyside unbeaten since they last visited the city for a 2-1 league defeat at Liverpool on December 30 and with seven of the last nine points they have contested safely banked.

Puel is likely to turn to his big names once again after making 10 changes for Saturday’s 5-1 FA Cup fourth round victory at League One Peterborough in which debutant Fousseni Diabate and Kelechi Iheanacho both scored twice.

Only central defender Harry Maguire was retained from the 2-0 league win over Watford seven days earlier, and the manager was delighted to have been able to use the depth of his squad to such good effect.

He said: “To feel we can have a team with good balance and with the quality to win the game is the most important thing, of course.

“After, it’s always important to give some game-time to the other players because this will give good confidence to the players and strength to the squad because we cannot play repeatedly with just 11 players.”

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