Brendan Rodgers

Rodgers Ready To Embrace European Challenge

Leicester City will embrace the 'big challenge' posed by the Club's upcoming UEFA Europa League, says manager Brendan Rodgers.
More on this story...

- Brendan Rodgers looks ahead to Leicester City's UEFA Europa League group stage campaign
- The Foxes will face SC Braga, AEK Athens and FC Zorya Luhansk in Group G
- Rodgers says City are determined to rise to the occasion and 'embrace the experience'
- The Northern Irishman also comments on the Club's ambitions to regularly be in contention

Following a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League last term, the Foxes return to the European stage alongside SC Braga, AEK Athens and FC Zorya Luhansk in Group G.

The campaign begins at home against Luhansk on Thursday 22 October (8pm BST kick-off) and Rodgers, who has a wealth of experience in European competitions, is excited by the challenge.

"Firstly, when you’re in the group stages, your first objective is to qualify, to make sure you come out of the group," the Northern Irishman said. "Then we’ll see, and we’ll see where we go.

"It’s a big challenge for us, but it’s a challenge that we worked so hard for last year, to arrive into European football.

"We’re really going to embrace it and we’ll develop and become a better team because of the experience.

"It's different coaches, different managers, different players and all teams that will have their own level of dominance because they’ve had success in their own leagues.

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Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

The Foxes manager has coached in both the Champions League and Europa League with Liverpool and Celtic.

"They’ve come into the European competitions with that confidence to play their way.

"I love the challenge of playing against teams with different coaching styles, different types of managers. It always enriches you and enhances you."

City's return to European football was one of Rodgers' ambitions when he joined the Club in February 2019, but now the focus is sustaining Leicester's efforts to qualify.

The Foxes have begun the 2020/21 Premier League season with three wins in four -  including a 5-2 triumph at Manchester City - and they head into the international break third in the table.

"The big challenge for me coming here was: could we take a team into European competition?" Rodgers explained.

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James Maddison
James Maddison

Brendan Rodgers' men had beaten West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Manchester City already in 2020/21.

"Thankfully, we did that last year, which was great, so the idea now is – and it’s going to be a very difficult challenge – however: can we sustain it? 

"We have the ambition to be up in that section of the table and to fight to be there. There are some amazing clubs in the Premier League with bigger resources and a bigger budget than ourselves.

"But we have to find another way to try and qualify, and that’s something that’s a real exciting challenge."

Leicester continues to build the foundations, both on and off the pitch, to regularly challenge and Rodgers believes those developments will allow the Club to fulfil its ambitions. 

"I think that’s important – to understand that if you don’t have millions and millions and millions of pounds to throw in to get top-level players, and lots of them, you have to do it step-by-step," he added.

"We finished ninth in my first season when I came in, in the half-season. So, the Club had two ninth finishes, and then we were in fifth last season, so the steps are to keep improving.

"We want to keep developing, keep challenging and being competitive. We know who the competitors are. It’s huge, but for us, we’re very ambitious, we want to compete."

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