Brendan Rodgers urges Leicester to be ‘brave’ against Spurs amid Gary Neville ‘worry’

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Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers in pensive mood Credit: PA Images
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers in pensive mood Credit: PA Images

Under-fire Brendan Rodgers has called on struggling Leicester to be brave as they look to revive their season.

The Foxes go to Tottenham on Saturday bottom and winless in the Premier League.

READ MORE: England squad: Harry Maguire is the least shocking of all shock inclusions

They come off the back of a 5-2 thumping at Brighton, with last week’s visit of Aston Villa postponed after the Queen’s death.

Leicester’s struggles are in contrast to their previous top-four challenges and Rodgers wants his players to stand up after five straight defeats.

He said: “We’re in a situation we haven’t been in before. Results haven’t gone our way but what is important is we have to be brave. Sometimes you’re not quite on your game and you can lose that aggression, but you can’t do that.

“Defending well is all about attitude and that’s something we have talked about. We talk about it every single day.

“The pressure starts from the top of the field. If they are not right the rest of the team is wrong. If one player isn’t quite doing it everyone else has to move into space we don’t need to.

“You want to see that grit and passion, that’s something we have here. Like in anything, in any sport, it’s not just about the talent. The ones who succeed are the ones who have that grit, determination and perseverance.”

Dennis Praet (foot) missed training this week but is in contention to be in the squad at Spurs although Ricardo Pereira (Achilles) and Ryan Bertrand (knee) are out.

Tottenham are unbeaten in the top flight so far, although they suffered their first defeat of the season with a 2-0 Champions League loss at Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday.

“It’s clearly a big challenge,” added Rodgers. “They have some very, very talented players.

“Antonio (Conte) works how he works and has them very organised. We know it’s going to be a very difficult game – whatever stage we went there.

“You can’t sit back and just let it happen, our intention is to play our game, to go and play with that courage and if we can cut out our mistakes it gives us a much better chance of getting a result.”

Meanwhile, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville says he is “really worried” about Leicester.

“I really worry about Leicester,” he said. “Earlier on in the season when Kasper Schmeichel went to Nice, I thought ‘why? Why is that being sanctioned?’.

“We talk about character, he’s not only a very good goalkeeper, but you imagine the presence and impact he’d have on the dressing room. You just can’t replace that.

“They’ve lost [Harry] Maguire before, N’Golo Kante before, [Riyad] Mahrez, they’ve lost players before but I felt like it was a strange thing to do. Now, obviously, Fofana has left as well and I’d be worried if I was a Leicester fan.

“Then there’s obviously rumours that the manager is in trouble, he’s done a brilliant job there. What else was he supposed to say, Brendan Rodgers, that he expected the window to go better? I think everyone did – Leicester hadn’t signed a player up until right at the end.

“Leicester have been like Brighton, they’ve let players go and brought other ones in, they’re good at replacing them. But you look at what’s happened there now, and I’m worried for Brendan, I’m worried for Leicester, because they were winning the league six years ago – and at the moment, they look in a bit of trouble. It doesn’t look like it’s right.

“When you demoralise a dressing room, a coaching staff and a manager with the players that leave, it’s very difficult to recover that, so I would be very worried if I was Leicester, at this moment in time.”


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