Jamie Vardy insists the party is still going strong at Leicester City.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
One year on from winning the Premier League title, the Foxes are battling to finish in eighth place when they host Tottenham Hotspur at the King Power Stadium on Thursday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Despite Claudio Ranieri being fired midseason with Leicester embroiled in a relegation battle, Vardy reflected on the season heading into the final two games and deems it a success.
“Obviously we won the league but we set ourselves realistic targets. I think if you would have asked anyone this season that we would finish midtable and get to a Champions League quarterfinal, they would have snapped your hands off. It depends and outgoing and incomings during the summer and once all that is sorted there will be targets set and it’s up to the 11 players who are put on the pitch to get the points.”
Vardy certainly had a slow start to the season, like most of his teammates, but the pacey striker has scored 10 goals and added three assists in his last 16 games in all competitions. Before that he had just three goals (all in a 4-2 victory over Manchester City) in 26 appearances for Leicester.
Asked about the future of many of Leicester’s players — Vardy has been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid, among others — the England international left things wide-open.
“It’s football. Anything can happen,” Vardy said. “That will be up for the club and the individuals themselves if offers are put in for them or if they wanted to go. If you look around at the lads, the vast majority defo still want to be here and progress how we want to.”
With Kasper Schmeichel, Vardy and Riyad Mahrez lined with moves away from the King Power Stadium this summer, now may be the best time for them to move on. Apart from N'Golo Kante, they all hung around to follow on from the title dream in 2015-16 and they took Leicester on a fairytale run to the last eight of the Champions League.
It would be a shame to see this team broken up this summer, but they may receive offers too good to turn down for Vardy, Mahrez and Schmeichel.
Craig Shakespeare is likely to be given a new contract once this season is over and his first priority should be keeping those three players at Leicester.