Brendan Rodgers hails ‘real inspiration’ for Leicester after confidence returns

Brendan Rodgers greeting Leicester City player Boubakary Soumare

Brendan Rodgers described James Maddison as a “real inspiration” after his crucial role in helping Leicester City beat Watford 4-2 on Sunday.

Leicester earned their first Premier League win in over a month by beating Watford at the King Power Stadium in blizzard conditions. Maddison was influential, scoring the opening goal before setting up both that Jamie Vardy scored before the break to restore their lead after Josh King had equalised from the penalty spot.

Despite Emmanuel Dennis pulling one back for Watford in the second half, Leicester regained their two-goal cushion when Ademola Lookman scored their fourth in the 68th minute.

The foundations had been put in place by Maddison, who now has five goal contributions from his last two games. Prior to the Watford game, he was yet to record an assist in this Premier League season.

But the playmaker was back to his best on Sunday and Rodgers was thrilled that was the case.

The manager said: “It was great. You can see his quality. He was a real inspiration for us.

“We always have a point to prove every single day. For him it was looking at his game. He knows this is a game and a level where you are always looking to prove yourself. You can never be calm with that, you always have to be intense.

“You are seeing the work, not just with him but the confidence returning to the team. It’s not about the one player; it’s about the team. But he was excellent today.”

Overall, Rodgers was impressed with the whole team’s performance against a Watford side who could have caused them problems.

The Northern Irishman added: “It was a really good performance. We were a real threat going forward.

“We were playing against a dangerous team. They scored five at Everton, four in their last game against Manchester United. It’s an important three points.”

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Ranieri positive despite defeat to Brendan Rodgers’ side

Claudio Ranieri stood on the touchline

The game marked the return to the King Power Stadium of Claudio Ranieri, the architect of Leicester’s famous Premier League title triumph in 2016.

Ranieri was given a warm welcome back by the Leicester fans, but couldn’t cause them upset with a Watford win.

However, he feels his current side put in a good display despite the defeat on an emotional occasion.

Ranieri said: “The reception was fantastic. I want to say thank you to all the fans, Leicester and Watford fans. They came here on this very difficult day and I want to say thank you because I hope they are proud of us.

“We fought till the end. We created more chances than Leicester but they scored and we didn’t. I am positive because it’s important the team try to create chances.

“We conceded four goals so we can do much better. But they won the match because they were more aggressive and more determined than us.

“It was Christmas Day conditions. It wasn’t the pitch; we lost because we made mistakes and Leicester scored the chances they had.”

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