Monday 5 December 2016

Watch: Two Man Utd Champions League winners back Leicester to succeed in Europe

Tom Rooney

Published 03/05/2016 | 21:27

Leicester upset the odds with their Premier League triumph
Leicester upset the odds with their Premier League triumph

Leicester City are yet to be presented with the Premier League trophy but speculation is already mounting as to how they’ll fare against Europe’s elite next season.

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As April drew to a close it became abundantly clear who was going to win the title, yet when Chelsea’s draw with Spurs confirmed Leicester City as the Premier League champions, the frissons of awe, shock and delight were no less profound.

Ranieiri’s rabble defied and smashed all previous wisdom, and they managed to do so with a consummate style and dynamism.

It would have been considered an insane thought even six months go, but the Foxes may find themselves pitched up at the Nou Camp against Messi and co, as they seek to shake up the Champions League in the 2016-17 campaign.

Who would have thought it?

Sceptics will claim that, while Leicester had enough pluck to dispatch of the decidedly indifferent Premier League elite, they may not possess the quality to do likewise to the likes of Bayern Munich, PSG or Real Madrid.

Ahead of Atletico Madrid's Champipons League semi-final victory over Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, Rio Ferdinand told a positively giddy Gary Lineker on BT Sports that his old club are capable of holding their own in such uncharted territory.

Ferdinand, who won a Champions League medal with Manchester United in 2008, believes that the well-oiled counter attacking system Leicester adhere to gives them a potent unity of purpose.

“I sat on the bench at QPR last season and watched Leicester City come to Loftus Road and play and, the way that they played, you saw straight away that they had an identity.

“That’s a big thing in football. If you’ve got a base to work from, and they’ve got that, they defend well as a unit, the midfield all know their roles. And when they win it, there is a no thought about what to do; it’s into the channels or Vardy and the whole team move up behind that.

“That’s a huge factor in football, being able to understand how to play and they do that very well,” he said.

Furthermore, Owen Hargreaves, who was a teammate of Ferdinand when United pipped Chelsea eight years ago, reckons that the Foxes’ all action mode of play, which puts little emphasis on having the ball, could certainly trouble certain European outfits.

He tempered this by noting that Leicester must expand their squad to cope with a more concentrated fixture list.

“Just look at the way Atletico Madrid do it.  Leicester don’t have to play great football to win games,” he told BT Sport.

“They love to let other teams have the ball, and in the Champions League they’re going to play a lot of great teams who have a lot of possession, but they’re one of the best teams on the counter attack.

“The only problem I see for Leicester is in the quantity of games. Are they going to have that depth to be able to rotate and focus on the Premier League? That’s going to be very, very difficult.”

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