Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers hailed the dedication of “great guy” Daniel Amartey following his match-winning contribution in the 2-1 success at struggling Brighton.
The high-flying Foxes shrugged off the absence of a host of key players to come from behind at the Amex Stadium and boost their hopes of Champions League qualification.
Ghana international Amartey, who has been plagued by ankle and hamstring problems in recent seasons, headed the late winner on Saturday evening to claim his first Premier League goal since December 2016.
Rodgers has been impressed with the versatility and commitment of the 26-year-old, as well as his ability to overcome adversity.
“He’s such a great guy, very honest to the game, been out for a long, long time and had a couple of setbacks along the way,” said Rodgers.
“But he gives you everything, wherever you play him, he’s played in some big performances for us this year.
“I am not sure how much he knew about it but it hit him and it went in, so we’re all happy for him.
“(He’s a) good guy, trains hard, very honest and never ever lets you down when he plays.”
Amartey, playing on the right of a back three, nodded home Marc Albrighton’s corner three minutes from time to make amends for gifting Brighton possession ahead of Adam Lallana’s early opener.
Leicester – without eight players due to injury – were poor in the first half but improved significantly after the break and levelled through Kelechi Iheanacho’s second goal in as many games.
The victory reignited the Foxes’ top-four push following a rocky 10 days in which they dropped five points in two games, crashed out of the Europa League and saw their alarming absentee list lengthen.
With Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, Ayoze Perez, Dennis Praet, Jonny Evans, James Justin, Wes Morgan and Cengiz Under all sidelined, Portuguese midfielder Sidnei Tavares was handed a full debut on the south coast.
Rodgers is enthusiastic about the potential of the 19-year-old academy graduate, who almost levelled with a thumping first-half drive.
“I’m always excited when I give young players the opportunity because with young players you just never know,” said Rodgers.
“I watched a youth-team game when I first came to the club and he really impressed me and, from that, I have watched him.
“He hasn’t played a great deal for our under-23 team but he is a player that has big potential.
“He is six foot three, a good mover, he takes the ball, he wants to play, he’s got a lovely view of the game and I thought he did very well. I am delighted for him but a lot of hard work still for him to do.”
Brighton remain in deep trouble after a third successive defeat stretched their winless run to five league games.
The Seagulls have won once at home in the top flight all season, with boss Graham Potter struggling to understand that dismal record.
“If I could, I would be putting my finger on it and then fixing it,” said Potter when asked to explain the wretched form in Sussex.
“We’re suffering, it’s as simple as that, that’s how it’s been.
“We have to keep fighting because we need to turn this place into somewhere where we feel a lot more comfortable than we are at the moment because the results aren’t there for us.”
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