Leicester City

Leicester City

Premier League • England

Brendan Rodgers reveals Leicester without seven for Napoli ‘challenge’

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers applauding his players 2021

Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Leicester City are also affected by a Covid-related crisis as they prepare for a Europa League clash with Napoli.

Leicester are looking ahead to their final group match against the Serie A side on Thursday. Win, and they will be through to the round of 16 as group winners. Avoid defeat, and they will still be assured of a place in the knockout stages.

But it will not be an easy task against an in-form Italian side. Furthermore, Leicester are – like Tottenham – dealing with a number of Covid-related absences.

“There are some players and staff who are not here,” Rodgers said at his pre-match press conference. “We have had some positive cases and some people who are not well.

“Youri [Tielemans] has trained very well and he will be available. Ryan [Bertrand] has been out for a week or so and he will be available for the game.”

Rodgers confirmed there are seven players and three members of staff unavailable.

“We still have a strong squad here. It’s just not a fully-fit squad.”

In Tottenham’s case – where there are eight players positive and five staff – there has been talk of them trying to get upcoming games postponed.

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Rodgers did not rise to any such possibility for Leicester in view of their upcoming Premier League match against Newcastle on Sunday.

“I’m really only looking at the next fixture,” he said. “Whether I have a fully-fit squad or not, I just have to focus on this. We just have to see what develops.”

Brendan Rodgers previews Napoli clash

Turning his attention to that immediate challenge against Napoli, Rodgers rallied his players by reminding them their fate is in their hands.

“It’s one we’re very comfortable on, knowing we have it on own hands,” he said. “If we win, we top the group, if we don’t lose, we qualify.

“The key is to be positive in our mindset and try to win the game. They are an excellent team but we played really well against them at home. The game at the weekend, it showed we’re not too far away if we get rid of the mistakes. The team has a confidence there.”

That said, he admitted it will be tricky to get a result against Luciano Spalletti’s side at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

“It was a tough group. You can see that by the scorelines,” Rodgers reflected. “Napoli have big-game experience. I really like the manager and he has experience himself. He’s done an excellent job.

“We understand the challenge we have. We need to be at our best level to get the result we want here.”

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