Claude Puel says he made a “good decision” to drop Jamie Vardy for Saturday’s game with West Ham, claiming he wasn’t 100 per cent fit. The Frenchman’s choice to axe the Foxes stalwart for the 1-1 draw with the Hammers was quickly rendered insignificant following the tragic events post-game after club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others were killed in a helicopter crash outside the ground.
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Just before the horrific scenario unfolded, Puel was asked why he had made the call to start Vardy on the bench, amid rumours of a falling out between the striker and the manager.
The ex-England international missed the end of the previous game at Arsenal with a stomach complaint and Puel says he hadn’t been able to train properly in the build-up to the visit of West Ham, prompting him to leave him out of his starting XI.
“I took the decision about my player and tried to have players with a possibility to play at 100 per cent. He had a digestive problem against Arsenal,” the City manager said.
“He could not work in a training session two days later and he came back step by step. It was a good opportunity to protect him in the first half and use him in the second half to push, to help us to score.
“He was not far away from scoring. For me, it was a good feeling, a good decision.
“I’m here to protect players. All the players want to play all the time, but I took my decision normally.”