James Maddison

Foxes Fitness Stands Out For Maddison

After a convincing 4-0 UEFA Europa League win over SC Braga on Thursday night, James Maddison felt Leicester City’s fitness levels blew their Portuguese opponents away during what proved to be their biggest-ever European win.
More on this story...

- James Maddison praises Leicester City’s work-rate following their 4-0 UEFA Europa League victory over SC Braga
- Maddison registered a goal and an assist in the Club’s largest-ever win in Europe
- The City No.10 was thrilled to play 90 minutes for the first time in 2020/21

A brace of goals from Kelechi Iheanacho and a third from Dennis Praet was added to by Maddison’s close-range finish as City opened up a three point gap at the top of qualification Group G.

That success at Leicester City Stadium means a win at SC Braga later this month will see City advance to the knockout stages of the competition, and Maddison was thrilled with the way his side stylishly beat Carlos Carvalhal’s outfit.

“It was a big game tonight for us, especially after both teams winning the first two games,” Maddison told LCFC TV. "It’s important in the Europa League that you get off to a good start so you’re not chasing the group, and three out of three is quite a good start – nine points from three games.

“We knew it was a tough game. I’m just really happy to be out there tonight, I just really enjoyed that. It’s good to get 90 minutes in the legs personally and the team performed brilliantly.

“The manager made changes at the top end of the pitch, Hamza [Choudhury] came in in midfield and it just shows the strength in depth that we’ve got at the minute.

“We’ve still got players coming back from injury. I think we blew them away fitness-wise as well, so it was a really good night for us.”

Maddison played from start to finish for the first time this season after recovering from a hip complaint, and the England international midfielder expressed his delight at his involvement against the Portuguese team.

“I’ve still got a way to go,” he said. “To get to your best, you have to be playing 90 minutes, 90 minutes, 90 minutes, 90 minutes consecutively, week on week. I’m getting there. The more training, the more games, the sharper I’m getting.

Kelly is a top finisher, so I know if I can get the weight of pass right, he’ll get an opportunity to score. Thankfully, he stayed composed and did that.

James Maddison LCFC TV

“I felt good out there tonight, I felt strong. I got through the 90 hopefully alright. 

“It was just really nice to be out there, I really enjoyed that and it’s nights like this you want to be involved in when you’re growing up playing football, so I’m really happy with that one.”

After going to ground in the first half with a knock, Maddison was able to continue, and he revealed after the game that he suffered from a dead leg following the collision.

“It’s just a knee to the thigh,” he said. “I just said over there, when I was growing up as a young boy, I was always a lot smaller than everyone else, so my thigh was in line with most people’s knees, so I’m used to dead legs over the years. That one was a sore one tonight, but I’ll be fine.”

It was Iheanacho who made it 1-0 to the hosts in Leicester, with Maddison setting up the Nigerian before he rounded off the scoring with a goal of his own late on.

“For the first one, with the assist, it’s just about staying calm at the top end of the pitch,” he added. “I always back myself when I’m on the ball up there to try and create something, whether it’s me scoring or assisting.

“Kelly (Kelechi Iheanacho) pulled it back to the edge of the box and it was just about having a good touch and just the weight of pass for him. Kelly is a top finisher and he’s listening in if you can move that camera!

“Kelly is a top finisher, so I know if I can get the weight of pass right, he’ll get an opportunity to score. Thankfully, he stayed composed and did that.

"It was really nice to score. I said at the start of the season, I wanted to score more scruffy goals. Getting in between the post and the box and get my tally up, so I scored one here against Zorya and that’s another scruffy one tonight. They count just the same as the one against Man City, so I’m really happy to add another one to the tally.”

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