Rodgers praises Leicester strikers after Sheffield United rout

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LEICESTER, England (Reuters) - Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for striker Kelechi Iheanacho, who scored his first Premier League hat-trick in the 5-0 hammering of bottom placed Sheffield United on Sunday.

Paul Heckingbottom, who was named interim boss on Saturday after Sheffield United parted ways with Chris Wilder, saw his defence run ragged by Nigeria's Iheanacho and strike partner Jamie Vardy.

"Kelechi Iheanacho is a great guy and when he has been asked to come in, he has performed. Absolutely delighted for him to have got a hat-trick in the Premier League. It's a great achievement and all were very good team goals," Leicester boss Rodgers told the BBC.

Vardy, who has struggled in front of goal lately, teed up two of Iheanacho's strikes before seeing his shot turned into his own net by Ethan Ampadu to complete the rout.

"He allows the players to get up with him, he got in the right positions ... he keeps going for the team. He maybe could have scored, we always appreciate everything he brings for the team," Rodgers told Sky Sports.

Heckingbottom, who will be at the helm until the end of the season, was disappointed with his side's performance.

"We know the circumstances behind it. It's been a tough week in losing Chris (Wilder) ... the players and the staff have lost their leader. It's taken its toll, it's an emotional dressing room," he told the BBC.

"You can't get rid of the feelings. The focus was solely on this game. But it's more of an emotional thing, I think. You can see it and feel it and sense it, which is to be expected.

"It's a sad time but we have to look forward. There is still a lot of football to play."

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Pritha Sarkar)