Rodgers says refreshed Foxes ready to pounce

LONDON • Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has given his thumbs up to the Premier League's inaugural winter break, saying that his players have returned refreshed for the final stretch of the season.

Speaking ahead of today's trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers, he said: "A lot of them went away to spend time with family and friends, to have a rest from football, and now they're ready to go.

"There's no doubt it was definitely something that will benefit them, just to break the cycle, mentally as well as physically."

The Foxes, in third place on 49 points, are chasing a Champions League berth with 13 games to go.

Wolves are ninth on 35 points and trail fourth-placed Chelsea by six points.

Both teams are in patchy form. Leicester have won only once in their last four league outings, while Wolves have won just one in six.

Rodgers has warned his men that they must keep a close watch on the "very dangerous" Wolves winger Adama Traore.

"I've seen the improvements he's made. Once he's away, he's very difficult to stop," he said.

He has also urged his men not to think about a top-four finish.

He said: "There are still 39 points to play for, which is a lot. We just need to concentrate on the next game."

Off the pitch, the Northern Irishman is ignoring the "narrative" which the media have constructed around James Maddison.

Newspapers published photos on Monday of the midfielder partying in Dubai during the mid-season break.

Last October, the 23-year-old was criticised for going to a casino on the night England lost a Euro 2020 qualifier to Czech Republic after withdrawing from the squad because of illness.

"I know the reality of what he is and what he gives," Rodgers said.

"This is a 23-year-old boy who is single, he's been given a week free. We try to educate them in many ways but this is something I'm not too bothered about."

He confirmed that midfielder Wilfred Ndidi is a doubt for today's trip following a "reaction" to his recent knee operation.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2020, with the headline 'Rodgers says refreshed Foxes ready to pounce'. Print Edition | Subscribe