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Building Up Fitness & Important Minutes – Taggart’s Pre-Season Assessment

Gerry Taggart says Leicester City’s pre-season schedule will ensure the squad is in the best shape possible to attack the start of the new campaign.
More on this story...

- Gerry Taggart was on punditry duties for LCFC TV during Leicester City’s first two pre-season friendlies of 2021/22
- City faced Burton Albion last weekend, ahead of tackling Wycombe Wanderers on Wednesday
- The Foxes will be happy with their work so far with the main objective to gain match sharpness, says Taggart
- He adds that everything is building up to the first game of the Premier League season in mid-August

Following Saturday’s goalless draw with Burton Albion at Pirelli Stadium, the Foxes were able to get more minutes in the tank by facing another Sky Bet League 1 opponent, Wycombe Wanderers, on Wednesday evening.

Speaking during LCFC TV's live broadcast of the friendly at Adams Park, Club legend Taggart gave his thoughts on both games, including their importance to preparing for the 2021/22 Premier League season.

City welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to King Power Stadium for their top-flight opener on Saturday 14 August, with two further friendlies - including a home clash with Villarreal next Wednesday - and the FA Community Shield against Manchester City to come before that date.

“Obviously rule no. 1 is don’t get injured and rule no. 2, get some important minutes in your legs,” the former Leicester defender explained. “It’s all about building up to that start of the season.

First Team

Burton Albion 0 Leicester City 0 (3-1 pens)

Extended highlights of Leicester City's first match of pre-season, with commentary from John Dunn and Gerry Taggart.

“There’s a couple of juicy games just around the corner with the Community Shield and the friendly against Villarreal, but even those games themselves are all about working forward to that first game of the Premier League season. 

"Obviously, the result is immaterial and it’s about getting those fitness levels up. That’s why we’re here, that’s why these games are played."

Leicester supporters travelled to an away fixture for the first time since March 2020 last weekend and Taggart was delighted to see the Blue Army back in the stadium.

The ex-Leicester defender also outlined areas of improvement, with Queens Park Rangers on the horizon this Saturday, before Villarreal visit King Power Stadium.

He continued: “Saturday was just great and you can hear the Leicester fans in full voice supporting the lads as we expect. It was just great to have them back in the stands. It was a lonely 12 to 18 months without them in there I can tell you.

The intensity in training has to be high and that’s also another reason why pre-season games take that little bit longer to find your legs when you come into the games.

Gerry Taggart LCFC TV

"If there was anything that Brendan [Rodgers] will want to improve on, it will be the passing combinations. 

“Brendan will be looking for them to put some slick passing combinations together. It is difficult. The pre-season training is mostly with a ball, even when they’ve been doing long runs, they’ve been using the ball most of the time, even if they’re only getting a touch on it, or they’re passing it off a wall.

“So that just tells you the impetus that Brendan is putting into his passing game, so for me, he’ll be looking for an improvement in that and minutes in the legs.

"And as the weeks go on, you’ll see players getting more game-time. So, on Saturday, you may see more players get 60 minutes and that’ll increase to 75-80 minutes and one or two of them might get a full game.”

First Team

Wycombe Wanderers 1 Leicester City 0

Extended highlights of Leicester City's 1-0 loss to Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park, with commentary from Chris Parrott and Dean Hammond.

Further analysing the tactics and strategies that City will be keen to implement this campaign, Taggart sees pre-season as the perfect time to iron out plans.

“You talk about a Brendan Rodgers team, the players have to be fit,” he added. “They have to be able to defend on the front foot, attack on the front foot and make sure they all get back into good positions when they’re out of possession.

“It was an extremely difficult season last season and, for the most part, they did amazingly well with the tempo of the game that they play at. We’re back to normal, the fixtures are spread out, and hopefully that will be enough to carry the team through to where they want to get to.

“The intensity in training has to be high and that’s also another reason why pre-season games take that little bit longer to find your legs when you come into the games.”

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