Enzo Maresca praised his Leicester City team for their “unbelievable” effort in extending their advantage at the top of the table despite the busy holiday schedule.
After traveling east and west to Portman Road and Wales, Maresca witnessed his team defeat Cardiff 2-0 on Friday night to take an eight-point lead over second-place Ipswich. Maresca’s team had continued their unbeaten streak. Nine games without a loss for City now ties their longest run of the year.
The last-minute equalizer on Boxing Day dealt a shockwave, but City bounced back with a solid performance at Cardiff. They led at halftime thanks to Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, then James Justin’s incredible goal sealed the win.
“I’m overjoyed,” Maresca declared. Very joyful for a single cause. Players have put up an incredible level of work with this volume of games at this time.
It’s really challenging to play two away games in a succession. Ipswich and back tonight, which equates to three and a half hours of travel time. every three days while playing.
In my opinion, the club must be happy, as should I as manager—I’m extremely delighted and proud of these players—and the supporters must be proud of them for persevering through this phase of playing every three days. It’s not simple.
In addition to pulling clear of Ipswich, who drew 0-0 with QPR, Southampton’s 17-game unbeaten streak does not change the double digit lead to third place. Leeds is now 17 points behind them as well, following their Friday night loss under Daniel Farke’s team.
Without a doubt, Maresca is delighted. “First of all, nobody—including me—expected to finish the year with more than 60 points; that was something I didn’t anticipate.” We must go on.