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Rodgers tapers title hopes as he seeks to finally get one over on Chelsea


Brendan Rodgers: ‘Enjoying the race’. Photo: PA

Brendan Rodgers: ‘Enjoying the race’. Photo: PA

Brendan Rodgers: ‘Enjoying the race’. Photo: PA

Brendan Rodgers attempts to end his managerial hoodoo against Chelsea tonight and take his Leicester City side to the top of the Premier League for the first time since November.

Rodgers is seeking his first victory in 16 attempts against the club with whom he established his reputation. Despite waving away the notion that Leicester can emulate their title win of 2016, he has told supporters to carry on dreaming. Leicester are seemingly operating under the radar despite having more points than Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea.

"The great feeling here is one of realism. What the club showed back in that 2015-'16 season is anything is genuinely possible - that it can be done," he said.

"That, in itself, was something great the club achieved. But I also think the Leicester City people and supporters are realistic in terms of the competition. But it shouldn't stop us dreaming and it shouldn't stop us from challenging.

"At Leicester, we're enjoying the race, enjoying the challenge and it's one of the things you want. To test yourself every day of your life to be the best you can be. That's a mantra I've always been comfortable with.

"We know that budgets and everything else are different to what the so-called top six would be. But I've always wanted us to feel that pressure to keep pushing, to keep developing as a club."

Rodgers made his name as an academy coach at Chelsea but has never beaten his former employers since becoming a manager. Leicester drew both games in the league last season and were knocked out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage by Frank Lampard's side.

Tonight's match promises to be an intriguing tussle between two managers possessing an array of young English talent.

While Chelsea's Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Reece James and former Leicester defender Ben Chilwell are already in Gareth Southgate's England plans, Rodgers is hoping James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and James Justin will soon join them.

"We're both British managers and both understand the qualities British players have," Rodgers said.

"We all respect the qualities when players come in from abroad, and where they can help clubs, but we both understand there are top young players available from these islands. They just need an opportunity.

"Something I've always done is promote young players. They clearly have to have certain characteristics to play, but you have to give them those chances to play.

"As long as they have that good attitude to want to improve and learn, they will get chances."

© Telegraph Media Group Limited 2021

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Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]