Foxes hope to shape up for Europe using 4-4-2

LONDON • After their fairytale Premier League title triumph last season, Leicester City begin their maiden Champions League voyage with the short trip to Belgium to face Club Brugge at the Jan Breydel Stadium today.

This will be the Foxes' first European game since a 3-1 defeat by Red Star Belgrade condemned them to a first-round exit in the Uefa Cup in Sept 2000.

But for their manager Claudio Ranieri, this is the start of a sixth Champions League campaign with a sixth different club.

Leicester go into the game on the back of a 1-4 defeat by Liverpool, but their players believe the team can replicate their Premier League success in Europe.

There is considerable debate whether their quick-breaking, low-possession football, which got them the league title last season, can find success on a tougher stage. And if their 4-4-2 system will click again.

Former England star Gary Lineker believes Ranieri will depart from his trusted system given that N'Golo Kante is no longer there to play the midfield holding role to perfection.

Moreover, Leicester have suffered two defeats in four matches in this campaign playing with 4-4-2.

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel said it is up to Ranieri to decide Leicester's formation, but he feels his team should stick to the system that has brought them silverware.

"The success we've had in the years I've been here has been through us being us, playing the way we do. We are a solid 4-4-2," he said.

Midfielder Danny Drinkwater is also adamant that Leicester should not change their style.

"I think it is up to teams to try and cancel out what we can do," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2016, with the headline 'Foxes hope to shape up for Europe using 4-4-2'. Print Edition | Subscribe