Sunday 19 November 2017

Leicester ready to upset the old order once again

Leicester City defender Christian Fuchs during squad training. Photo: REUTERS
Leicester City defender Christian Fuchs during squad training. Photo: REUTERS

John Percy

Leicester City have proven such an irritant to the bookmakers during the past 12 months that the odds for a victory over Atletico Madrid tonight are probably best ignored.

The chances of Leicester winning the Premier League title last season were equal to Elvis Presley being found alive and here we are again, with Leicester heading into the biggest night in their history as rank outsiders.

Two-time finalists Atletico are widely expected to reach the semi-finals by completing the job at the King Power Stadium, having won the first leg 1-0.

Diego Simeone is a cunning and streetwise tactician, while striker Antoine Griezmann has an eye-watering £85m release clause. Atletico's odds to go through are 1/5 with some bookies.

Yet Leicester's ability to upset the odds has defined their thrilling year and manager Craig Shakespeare is refusing to bet against another famous night.

"The bookmakers have got it wrong in the past and let's hope they've got it wrong again on Tuesday night," he said. "We know we start as underdogs because of the history of Madrid but we are comfortable with that. We know what we have to do and let's hope we earn people a few bob."

While reaching the quarter-finals has already defied expectations, these players are in no mood to close the chapter on their adventure.

History

Defender Christian Fuchs said: "It is something very special to us, we are small Leicester City playing in the Champions League for the first time in our history and it is already great.

"Being in the quarter-finals is outstanding. We just want to enjoy the time we have. We might never be here again. I'm fired up and looking forward to it. Everyone said we would crack under the pressure last season and we didn't. I don't think anyone loves coming to the King Power, but nevertheless we are still the underdogs."

Leicester's hopes of progress will be fuelled by a smouldering sense of injustice following the decision by referee Jonas Eriksson that swung the first leg when the Swede awarded Atletico a penalty despite Marc Albrighton fouling Griezmann outside the box.

"It's not gnawing away at me and the last thing the players need is me harping on about it," Shakespeare said. "We have to make sure we're fully focused on the game and nothing else. Our players have to be smart and our game management has to be good."

Captain Wes Morgan will be assessed this morning but could return after missing the last six games with a back injury. He is in line to start, with Robert Huth suspended after his booking in Madrid last week. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Leicester v Atletico Madrid, Live BT Sport 2 & TV3, 7.45

Telegraph.co.uk

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