Monday 20 May 2019

Rodgers concerned ‘long slog’ of Europa League qualifying could come too soon

The Foxes are in a fight for seventh place in the Premier League.

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates after his side’s last-gasp draw at West Ham (Yui Mok/PA)
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates after his side’s last-gasp draw at West Ham (Yui Mok/PA)

By Andy Sims, Press Association Sport

Brendan Rodgers fears European qualification could pose problems for Leicester, but he would still relish the challenge.

The Foxes are among a host of teams in with a chance of finishing in seventh place, which would secure a Europa League spot if Manchester City win the FA Cup.

Many see the competition as a poisoned chalice, with a qualifying campaign likely to start in July, and Rodgers, who only took over the Foxes in February, would rather get a full pre-season with his squad.

However, he said: “If we qualified we’d have to embrace it. My job, my objective when I came here was to look to try and challenge for a European place.

“It’s very, very difficult with the teams in that top six, but can we fight to bring European football back to Leicester?

“Whenever it comes we’ll be ready to embrace it. It may be too soon for us this summer, we’ve only been together a short period of time, it would be nice to get a pre-season.

“I’ve experienced Europa League qualification when you have to come back really early, it can be a long slog, especially at this period when we have only just started.

“But whenever it comes we’ll accept it and embrace it and it’s hopefully something we can do in my time here.”

Leicester snatched a 2-2 draw at West Ham on Saturday thanks to a stoppage-time winner from Harvey Barnes.

West Ham led twice through Michail Antonio and Lucas Perez – who also had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside – but were pegged back by Jamie Vardy and Barnes.

The Hammers also have a slim chance of finishing seventh, and Antonio said: “All you can do is go out there and give your best to try and get three points from every game, then we’ll see where we finish

“We have got to keep going, keep pushing and try to give something to the fans until the end of the season.”

Press Association

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