The FA Cup - Fifth Round
LeicesterLeicester City1Sheff UtdSheffield United0

Leicester City 1-0 Sheffield United

By Greg O'KeeffeBBC Sport

Leicester can "move on" from the Riyad Mahrez transfer saga after the Algerian helped them reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, says manager Claude Puel.

Mahrez, who was back in the side after missing 10 days of training when a proposed move to Manchester City did not materialise, set up Jamie Vardy's goal in a 1-0 win over Sheffield United.

He left the field to a standing ovation when replaced by Matty James in added time.

"The most important thing in the game was the fans supported Riyad, and when I replaced him it was a good feeling with the fans," said Puel.

"It's important to stay united about this.

"The situation is behind us, it's important to look forward. Now we have two home games in the Premier League and it's important to get the support of the fans."

Leicester had to work hard to break down a well-drilled Blades defence, and the Championship visitors went close through Enda Stevens and George Baldock.

But their Premier League hosts dominated possession, and Vardy had a second effort ruled out for offside.

Leicester, who are now unbeaten in seven home games, always looked most likely to score first, but only kept their advantage thanks to Kasper Schmeichel's fine diving save from Baldock.

The Foxes will discover their last-eight opponents on Saturday at 20:00 GMT.

Mahrez forgiven again

Riyad Mahrez impressed on his return to the side against a resolute Sheffield United
Mahrez (right) impressed on his return to the Leicester side

Mahrez's name received the loudest cheer when the Leicester team was read out before the match, showing the Foxes faithful are a forgiving lot.

The Algerian was back in the starting line-up 16 days after a potential deadline-day move to Manchester City ended in disappointment for him.

It was the second high-profile occasion he had tried to leave Leicester, and the second time their fans had to decide how to respond.

Their support before kick-off will have eased any nerves the 26-year-old harboured, and he replied with an assured performance, including creating the goal for Vardy.

He showed little sign of rust, making four key passes - more than any team-mate - and did enough to suggest he has knuckled down again.

With that issue resolved, Puel wants "conviction and desire" from all of his players on the run-in.

"There are 11 Premier League games left, and we have the FA Cup," he said. "It's a crucial competition for us."

Blades have reasons to be cheerful

A scramble in the Leicester goalmouth
Sheffield United had precious little possession but still threatened an upset

United boss Chris Wilder's options were limited by a combination of injuries, suspensions and cup-tied players.

The Blades, who fielded an under-strength side in their 4-1 defeat by Leicester in the Carabao Cup earlier this season, again had an unfamiliar look, with six changes from their win over Leeds.

So it was to their credit that they produced a sterling defensive performance, exemplified by centre-back Jack O'Connell.

For more than an hour they frustrated a team able to call on an England striker, and other attacking talents of the calibre of Mahrez and Kelechi Iheanacho.

They had just 31% possession but still gave the Foxes a couple of scares, including when Stevens' goalbound shot was diverted behind by Harry Maguire.

If being thwarted by one of their ex-players hurt, it paled in comparison to the pain they will have felt when former Sheffield Wednesday youth-teamer Vardy hit the net.

But the travelling fans can be proud of a spirited display, which underlined the strength in their squad as they fight for a place in the top flight.

"We gave a good account of ourselves, but we are disappointed," said Wilder.

"We have performed great all season, the consistency levels have been great. To not be overrun here gives us great heart, and we need a great run in the league, which that has to be our priority.

"All I ask is we always leave everything out there on the pitch, and we need to push on now."

Man of the match - Jack O'Connell (Sheffield United)

Jack O'Connell strikes the ball
The 23-year-old made more clearances (five) and won the ball back more than any team-mate in a display of maturity and focus - which also saw him have the most touches of the ball and the second-most passes for the visitors.

Vardy can't stop scoring - the stats

  • Vardy has scored in five consecutive games for Leicester for the first time since October 2015 (seven games).
  • Sheffield United have now failed to score in five consecutive FA Cup meetings with Leicester since they beat them 3-1 in January 1950.
  • Indeed, the Foxes are unbeaten in their past six competitive meetings with the Blades (W4 D2), winning three in a row over them for the first time.
  • Puel's side have gone seven home games without a defeat in all competitions (W4 D3), their longest such run since May 2017 (eight matches).
  • The Blades have lost back-to-back FA Cup encounters with Premier League opponents without scoring a single goal for the first time since January 1995. They had suffered just one loss in their previous five against top flight sides prior to this, scoring each time (W3 D1).
  • Mahrez has been directly involved in six goals in his past five appearances at the King Power Stadium (two goals, four assists) in all competitions, as many as his previous 17 combined.

What's next?

Leicester host Stoke City in the Premier League on Saturday, 24 February (12:30 GMT), while Sheffield United host QPR in the Championship on Tuesday, 20 February (19:45 GMT).

Line-ups

Leicester

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 2Simpson
  • 5Morgan
  • 15Maguire
  • 3Chilwell
  • 7Gray
  • 21Iborra
  • 25Ndidi
  • 26MahrezSubstituted forJamesat 90+3'minutes
  • 8Iheanacho
  • 9VardySubstituted forAlbrightonat 84'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Albrighton
  • 12Hamer
  • 14Adrien Silva
  • 16Dragovic
  • 22James
  • 28Fuchs
  • 33Diabaté

Sheff Utd

Formation 3-5-2

  • 27Blackman
  • 6Basham
  • 13WrightSubstituted forEvansat 76'minutes
  • 5O'Connell
  • 2Baldock
  • 44CarruthersSubstituted forDuffyat 76'minutes
  • 7Lundstram
  • 24Lafferty
  • 3Stevens
  • 11Donaldson
  • 12WilsonSubstituted forBrooksat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Sharp
  • 19Stearman
  • 21Duffy
  • 23Heneghan
  • 31Eastwood
  • 32Evans
  • 36Brooks
Referee:
Lee Mason
Attendance:
28,336

Match Stats

Home TeamLeicesterAway TeamSheff Utd
Possession
Home69%
Away31%
Shots
Home12
Away8
Shots on Target
Home4
Away1
Corners
Home9
Away8
Fouls
Home9
Away6

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Leicester City 1, Sheffield United 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Leicester City 1, Sheffield United 0.

  3. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  4. Substitution

    Substitution, Leicester City. Matty James replaces Riyad Mahrez.

  5. Post update

    Delay in match David Brooks (Sheffield United) because of an injury.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Kasper Schmeichel.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Vicente Iborra (Leicester City).

  8. Post update

    Ched Evans (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ched Evans (Sheffield United) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the right.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Leicester City. Marc Albrighton replaces Jamie Vardy.

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Riyad Mahrez.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City).

  13. Post update

    Daniel Lafferty (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Jamie Vardy (Leicester City).

  15. Post update

    George Baldock (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by George Baldock.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Chris Basham.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Harry Maguire.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City).

  20. Post update

    Mark Duffy (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

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