Brendan Rodgers dismisses suggestions Leicester could face early exit

Leicester have one point from their opening two Group C games

Nick Mashiter
Thursday 30 September 2021 21:06
Legia beat Leicester 1-0 in Warsaw on Thursday. (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)
Legia beat Leicester 1-0 in Warsaw on Thursday. (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

Boss Brendan Rodgers dismissed fears Leicester could suffer an early Europa League exit after their lacklustre defeat at Legia Warsaw.

Mahir Emreli’s strike sunk the Foxes in Poland as they slipped to a 1-0 loss to leave them struggling in Group C.

The Foxes were joint favourites for the competition with Napoli but both sit joint bottom of Group C with just a point after the Italian’s 3-2 defeat to Spartak Moscow

Leicester go to Moscow in October and Rodgers remains confident they can progress.

He told a press conference: “It’s very open, there are four games to go. Legia have made a good start but our aim is to qualify. We still have work to do.

“We’ve got one point from two games but there is enough time to do that.

“I’m disappointed with the result. We were too passive in the game in the first half. Then we had a couple of really good chances.

“We didn’t concede too much, we dominated the second half and were much more active. We had opportunities to get something from the game.

“I’ve made the changes but it doesn’t take away the importance from it. We have four more games to qualify. As a football club, we’re new to the level.”

Rodgers made six changes from Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Burnley with Jamie Vardy only coming off the bench for the final eight minutes.

Leicester’s preparations started in embarrassing fashion when Kelechi Iheanacho was turned away by Polish border control because of problems with his travel documents on Wednesday.

It got worse as Emreli struck a first-half winner when he held off Daniel Amartey and drilled into the corner off the post.

Ayoze Perez dragged wide with just Cezary Miszta to beat as Leicester chased the game but they rarely looked like they had the energy and ingenuity to level.

The Foxes at least improved after the break and had plenty of possession but only Jannik Vestergaard’s miscued header forced Miszta into action.

Indeed, Kasper Schmeichel needed to ensure Legia did not add a late second when he turned Lirim Kastrati’s shot onto the post before Tomas Pekhart blazed over when the hosts caught Leicester on the break.

Emreli told uefa.com: “My mum usually wants me to shoot as quickly as possible when I get the ball, so I don’t think she will be fully satisfied because I kept the ball for some time.

“We have six points after two games. You might think it’s a dream, but it it’s really happening.

“There are no favourites anymore in football. Everything is in your head. I said before the game we should enjoy it like an exotic holiday because it is fantastic to play in such an atmosphere against such a good team and we did that.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in