Foxes must rediscover their fighting spirit: Albrighton

Jamie Vardy (left) and Riyad Mahrez will have key roles when Leicester take on unbeaten FC Copenhagen in the Champions League today.
Jamie Vardy (left) and Riyad Mahrez will have key roles when Leicester take on unbeaten FC Copenhagen in the Champions League today.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Leicester City's frustrated players have pointed to a lack of fight undermining their defence of the Premier League title as they struggle to balance their domestic and European commitments.

Claudio Ranieri's ailing side were dismissed 3-0 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, a defeat which meant they became the first team to lose the first four away games of their league defence since Blackburn Rovers 21 years ago.

Spluttering form has left the champions with eight points from as many games, with their players exasperated by the lack of spirit demonstrated to date this term.

"It is not really acceptable to keep losing in this manner," Marc Albrighton said. "I am not sure what it is. We have had a chat in the dressing room about it. Obviously, we need to be stronger, to be harder to play against, to be harder to beat, harder to score against.

"Teams are going to try and stop us in different ways because last year we had a lot of joy doing what we did, but as far as we are concerned it is not the way we are playing. We have lost the fight from last year, and we need to get it back quickly."

Those sentiments were echoed by midfielder Danny Drinkwater.

"There is something missing at the minute and, if it is that fight, we need to get it back pretty quickly," he said.

Leicester have not endured the same issues in Europe and face FC Copenhagen in the Champions League today. The Danes are on four points, two behind the Foxes who head Group G.

Stale Solbakken's side are unbeaten in all competitions this season and will pose a challenge to the English team, with Ranieri seeking evidence his squad can rekindle the spirit of last season.

"Last year we were out of this world, and now we've come back into this world and we have to react," the Italian said. "Last season we were very connected with one another, and this season not so well. This is the problem."

Leicester would like to keep their 100-per-cent win record in the Champions League, but must be on their guard against a Copenhagen side who consolidated their place at the top of the Danish top flight with a 2-0 win over Silkeborg last weekend.

THE GUARDIAN

LEICESTER V FC COPENHAGEN

StarHub Ch203, tomorrow, 2.45am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline 'Foxes must rediscover their fighting spirit: Albrighton'. Print Edition | Subscribe