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Relegation no issue if players fighting - Rodgers

Published on: 16 March 2023

Leicester are outside the Premier League's relegation zone only on goal difference

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers says relegation is not "in question" if his players are still "running and fighting".

The Foxes, who were Premier League champions in 2016, are outside the bottom three only on goal difference and have lost their last five games.

They travel to Brentford on Saturday, with Thomas Frank's side aiming to qualify for Europe next season.

Rodgers said the Bees remain "hungry" to "do the basics of the game".

Brentford finished 13th last season in their first season in the Premier League and have kicked on this term, lying in eighth place and just a point adrift of a Europa Conference League spot.

"I have been really impressed with Ivan Toney and the team," said Rodgers. "What I really enjoy watching about them is that they haven't been affected by the Premier League.

"Sometimes when you are in the Premier League for a period of time, you stop doing the basics of the game well like running and fighting.

"But this is a team that came up from the Championship and are still hungry for that.

"They do the basics of the game really well and with talent. They have had a very good season."

'Objective very clear now'A 'Rodgers out' banner was held aloft during Saturday's defeat by Chelsea

Leicester shocked the football world by winning the Premier League title seven years ago and they also claimed the FA Cup in 2021, followed by the Community Shield.

However, having competed in Europe for the last two seasons, the Foxes' inconsistent showings mean they have had to reassess their targets by ensuring survival.

In last Saturday's 3-1 home defeat by Chelsea, there were loud chantsexternal-link of 'We want Rodgers out' from Leicester supporters.

Asked by BBC Sport if his side are still fighting and running for him, Rodgers said: "I don't think that is in question. The players have given everything and clearly not at the height of our confidence.

"The frustration is that in the costly moments when we do switch off and we don't get into position, we get punished.

"The players are a really good, honest group and it is always easy under positive circumstances to stay upbeat as a leader, but I have to stay positive with them in this moment as well.

"It has been a tough moment but we've shown before we can come through difficult moments.

"It's about fighting, running, working and organisation. If you cut out mistakes, it gives you a chance to get results.

"Our objective now is very clear, to ensure we get enough points to stay in the league. There is no tip-toeing around it with 12 games to go.

"We haven't been consistent enough and have not taken enough points and not been good enough to do that. We have to focus in and be clear on what we have to achieve."

Maddison's World Cup experience 'only positive'

Toney and James Maddison have both been called up to the England squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine this month.

Maddison was selected for the World Cup in Qatar, but he didn't make an appearance for the Three Lions because of injury.

"For James, the experience was only a positive one," added Rodgers. "He didn't see it as a negative, he worked very hard and has done for the last 18 months to two years.

"He got to the World Cup, sees what it means to be in a big tournament and being around top players like Harry Kane. That will open his eyes for the preparation and consistency to be a top player."

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