Foxes to fight fire with fire

Leicester will be depending on Premier League leading scorer Jamie Vardy (far left) to lead the attack against Manchester City today. The striker, with 17 league goals this season, gave the Foxes the lead in the reverse fixture in December before Cit
Leicester will be depending on Premier League leading scorer Jamie Vardy (far left) to lead the attack against Manchester City today. The striker, with 17 league goals this season, gave the Foxes the lead in the reverse fixture in December before City came back to notch a 3-1 win.PHOTO: REUTERS

Leicester boss Rodgers vows to be aggressive against a City side stung by Uefa punishment

LONDON • Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers believes Manchester City will use their shock European ban to inspire them to a successful end to the season.

Pep Guardiola's side were hit with a two-year suspension from the Champions League and Europa League and fined €30 million (S$45.4 million) by Uefa last week for alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations.

Leicester face City at the King Power Stadium today in the Premier League champions' second game since the ban.

Second-placed City, who plan to appeal against the suspension, beat West Ham 2-0 on Wednesday to move four points clear of third-placed Leicester (50) in the Premier League table.

While Guardiola's men are 22 points behind leaders Liverpool, Rodgers does not expect any slip in City's standards following the ban, with the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup all available as potential trophies to ease their pain.

"It will galvanise them as a squad, these types of situations where there's questions around the club," he told reporters on Thursday.

"The players will become stronger for it, they will show that spirit, I'm pretty much sure of that.

"They'll want to show no matter what the issues are, they're still very talented players.

"I think for Pep and his players they'll be very determined to finish the season as strong as they can, in every competition they are in."

To end the campaign on a high note, City must first solve their away woes. They have lost four of their 13 away league games, as many as they had on the road in their previous two campaigns combined.

Rodgers has hinted that his side will be aggressive today, after they took an early lead in the reverse fixture at the Etihad in December but lost 3-1.

RESILIENCE IN ADVERSITY

The players will become stronger for it, they will show that spirit, I'm pretty much sure of that. They'll want to show no matter what the issues are, they're still very talented players.

BRENDAN RODGERS, Leicester manager, on the impact of the Uefa ban on Man City.

"We were too passive. That was pretty clear," he said. "We got a great start but we didn't press the game well enough.

"Man City are a great team but they have to feel your aggression, and when you get the ball, you have to have quality."

He denied that Leicester have made any approach to sign Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana. The 31-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and it has been reported the Foxes have spoken to his representatives.

But Rodgers, in charge at Liverpool when they signed Lallana from Southampton in 2014, insisted no contact had been made.

"He's at the stage of his contract where he will have options, I'm sure. But certainly what's been put out there over these last few days, it's not the case," he said.

Rodgers also confirmed that Leicester will not rush Wilfred Ndidi back from a knee injury until he is completely fit.

The midfielder required surgery last month after taking a knock in training. Although the Nigerian played twice at the end of last month, Rodgers wants him to recover fully.

With Hamza Choudhury suspended after getting sent off in the 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers last Saturday, and Nampalys Mendy also sidelined with a knee injury, Leicester are short of options in central midfield.

"Obviously we have to find a strategy... that can see us try and get three points," Rodgers said. "We have players who are ready to step in."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS


LEICESTER V MAN CITY

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2020, with the headline 'Foxes to fight fire with fire'. Print Edition | Subscribe