Brendan Rodgers

Rodgers Excited By Leicester's European Challenge

Brendan Rodgers believes the experience of competing in Europe is the 'next step' for his youthful Leicester City squad in 2020/21.
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- Leicester City will participate in the UEFA Europa League group stage in 2020/21
- Manager Brendan Rodgers is excited by the prospect of competing in the competition 
- The Northern Irishman believes there is even more improvement to be made in attacking areas
- Rodgers also praised striker Jamie Vardy, who won the Premier League Golden Boot on Sunday

The Club's second-best Premier League finish, fifth place in 2019/20, qualifies them for the group stage of the UEFA Europa League, which they last entered in its previous format in 2000/01.

It means City's seventh successive top-flight campaign will bring fresh challenges for Rodgers' squad and the Northern Irishman says they will approach it with an ambitious mentality.

"Next year, it’s about ambition, and improving the quality," Rodgers told the media after Sunday's final day. "This experience will serve us really, really well going into next season.

"In the attacking element of the team, we’ve made big strides this season. I think we scored 51 goals last season and we knew if we wanted to be in the top six, we needed 65-plus goals.

"We’ve ended up with 67, so that is a fantastic return in a short period, but if you’re going to challenge above that, it’s about trying to get more creativity into the squad. 

We finished in the second-highest Premier League finish for Leicester City. That takes us into European competition and I'm really, really excited by that.

Brendan Rodgers

"Defensively, we’ve been strong, in the main, this season. We’ve obviously been hurt in this last period by having three out of the back-four being out.

"Missing that speed and quality will affect anyone at this level, but generally, I’m pleased with how we defend and we would like to add more creativity and attacking thrust.

"We can offer a wonderful environment to play, develop and work in, where players will improve. We'll see how it goes from here over the course of the off-season."

Rodgers also believes that the logistical challenges of competing in at least six European fixtures next term will enable his entire squad to become more 'robust'.

"We finished in the second-highest Premier League finish for Leicester City," he continued. "That takes us into European competition and I'm really, really excited by that.

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Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy

City's No.9 scored 23 goals in the Premier League in 2019/20.

"It's that next step for this squad of players. We've probably arrived a bit earlier than what we thought, but the boys have had a very good season, which takes us into Europe.

"Those experiences, playing in that level of competition, also the schedule of playing in mid-week and weekends, that gains you that experience and makes you more robust.

"That will really help this squad, so I'm excited by that, and we'll look to have a great experience in the competition as well."

The 2019/20 campaign, meanwhile, concluded with Jamie Vardy scooping the Premier League's Golden Boot prize after scoring 23 goals for the Foxes.

We need to get others around [Vardy] and showing that level also. He knows he couldn’t have done it without the team, but they also know we wouldn’t be where we are without him.

Brendan Rodgers

Rodgers says he is delighted for City's talismanic No.9 and pointed to the competition he faced to be crowned as the highest goalscorer in English football's top tier.

"It’s a real testament to what an outstanding season he’s had," the 47-year-old explained. "Since the day I walked in the door, he’s been absolutely brilliant, a real talisman for this team.

"We need to get others around him and showing that level also. He knows he couldn’t have done it without the team, but they also know we wouldn’t be where we are without him.

"I’m absolutely delighted for him. He’s thoroughly deserved it. To get 23 goals and to finish above the world-class strikers at this level, it really shows how well he’s done.

"I’m sure he didn’t have the same number of opportunities as some of those strikers in this league too, so it’s a great personal milestone for him."

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