LEICESTER, England (AP) Claudio Ranieri had been telling Leicester striker Jamie Vardy that if he continued to work hard then his goal drought would end. The manager was proved right on Saturday in a 3-0 win over Stoke.
During his six Premier League matches without a goal, Vardy has been typically industrious, buzzing around opposition defenders and not allowing them time on the ball, despite his fitness being affected earlier this month by a minor groin operation.
It was the same against Stoke and if the 29-year-old Vardy's confidence had been hit by his recent lack of goals, he showed no signs of it as he calmly rounded goalkeeper Jack Butland, after latching on to Danny Drinkwater's pass, before rolling the ball into the net from a tight angle.
Drinkwater and substitute Leonardo Ulloa scored either side of Vardy's 66th-minute goal as Leicester went top before second-place Arsenal hosts Chelsea on Sunday.
It was Vardy's 16th goal of a prolific season - that saw him net in a Premier League-record 11 consecutive games - but his first since Dec. 14.
''Jamie I tell every day it is not important (the drought), although I know goals for the strikers is important and maybe now he has more confidence,'' Ranieri said. ''When I speak with him I say it is important you continue to work hard because you are the main man and if you start to press then everyone follows.
''Then sooner or later you score a goal, I tell him this. You have to work and make it happen and then the goal will arrive.''