I Will Not Put Pressure On My Players, Says Leicester’s Rodgers
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said he will not put extra pressure on his players by publicly targeting a top four finish in the Premier League after a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace moved the Foxes up to third.
Rodgers’s men smashed Southampton 9-0 last Friday, but were made to work much harder for all three points by a resilient Palace.
Caglar Soyuncu’s stooping header from James Maddison’s corner just before the hour mark made the breakthrough and Jamie Vardy’s hot streak continued when he finished off an excellent team move two minutes from time.
Leicester edge ahead of Chelsea on goal difference and six points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, who they host next weekend, in the early battle for a place in next season’s Champions League.
“The team is playing well. We are not getting carried away and I’m not going to trap the players with any sort of pressure,” said Rodgers.
“They understand we are trying to create something here that we can sustain. With 10 games to go let’s see where we are.”
After their free-scoring football against a dishevelled Southampton, the visitors had to live off scraps for long spells at Selhurst Park to grind out the win.
“There’s great pride in the team today. After the historical win and performance last week this is where you earn your money here,” added Rodgers.
Vardy had the best opportunity of an uninspired first half when a wonderful Maddison pass freed the former England international in behind, but he could not force the ball beyond Vicente Guaita from a narrow angle.
Set-pieces seemed the most likely source of a goal for either side early on and Jonny Evans headed the first warning shot from the visitors looping just over moments later.
Evans threatened again when he met a Maddison corner with a towering header that Guaita turned over the bar.
However, from the resulting corner, Leicester made the breakthrough when Soyuncu stooped to head home.
Palace have scored just four goals in their first six home games of the season and their lack of a goal threat was clear as they probed for an equaliser without ever forcing Kasper Schmeichel into a serious save.
“I think they’ve got a lot of gifted players in their team, and they carry a very clear goal threat, which we can be accused of not having,” said Palace boss Roy Hodgson. “We have to work very hard for our goal chances.”
Leicester then produced one of the few real moments of quality in the game to seal all three points when Vardy played a one-two with substitute Demarai Gray before drilling into the bottom corner with his left foot for his 10th goal of the season.
“The service he’s getting now is elevating them to a team in the top four,” added Hodgson of Vardy, who he previously managed as England boss.
“They are there on merit because that’s how well they are playing and that’s how good their squad is.”
More on Sports
MORE FROM CHANNELS TV