Ayoze Pérez

Legia Clash A Big Opportunity, Says Pérez

Ayoze Pérez has spoken about the importance of Thursday’s meeting with Legia Warsaw in the context of Leicester City’s UEFA Europa League campaign.
More on this story...

- Leicester City and Legia Warsaw meet in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday (8pm kick-off)
- Ayoze Pérez was in conversation with the media during Wednesday’s pre-match presser
- The Spaniard referenced the game’s significance to the outcome of the Group C table
- He hopes the Foxes can use home advantage at Leicester City Stadium to secure a favourable result

Group C remains open and all four teams are still in with a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages ahead of the final two matchdays, which, for Brendan Rodgers’ side, begins with the visit of Legia.

The Polish top-flight champions arrive at Leicester City Stadium for an 8pm kick-off with the two sides separated by a single point and the significance of the fixture is not lost on Pérez and his team-mates.

Speaking during Wednesday's virtual pre-match press conference held inside the King Power Centre at LCFC Training Ground, the Spaniard explained City’s focus on utilising home advantage to help take maximum points from the encounter.

He told the media: “We know the importance of tomorrow night’s game and we are really focused on that and the opportunity to make sure we perform well and get the important result we need at this stage of the group to take a step closer to qualification.

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Ayoze Pérez
Ayoze Pérez

Pérez fielded questions from the media on Thursday afternoon.

“It’s a must-win game if we want to get through the group stages. It’s very important to get the win in our stadium with our people and it depends on ourselves.

“When you need that little boost to play even better and to keep pushing until the end, we need to make our stadium a place that teams think is really tough to come to.

“That’s not only us as the main thing, the ones that are playing, but also it can give you a little extra one or two per cent if the crowd is really pushing and with you. You feel that energy. It’s a good feeling obviously.

“We’re here to play to our best level and try to win games and show good football to our great fans. That’s what we’re trying to get better at. [Legia] have got to feel that tomorrow’s 90 minutes are going to be really hard and very long.

“That means that we’re pushing, we’re creating chances and making it really tough to get something from our stadium. That’s the main target for us and the mindset for the game. I’m sure we’re ready for it and hopefully we get the win.”

The sooner we get positive results, it’s going to help us to get that confidence again, and from that, start building up momentum that is going to take us into better results and better places.

Ayoze Pérez

The 28-year-old has made three appearances in the European competition this season, including the reverse fixture in Warsaw in September, shortly after scoring the opening goal of City’s 2-2 draw with Napoli on Filbert Way.

Four points from a possible six in two Europa League meetings with Spartak Moscow lifted the team into a much more favourable position in the group and there is confidence within the group that they can capitalise on that.

“We know we are in a difficult position and struggling at the minute in terms of results and performance,” the former Newcastle United winger continued. “But from the inside, what I’m sure is that we’re not far from getting back to where we were.

“The sooner we get positive results, it’s going to help us to get that confidence again, and from that, start building up momentum that is going to take us into better results and better places. There’s still a long way to go until the end of the season.

“In these situations, we are focused on what we can change to get the results that we all want. Football sometimes is like this. You can get a good result and start playing better, getting better performances and climbing up the table."

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Ayoze Pérez
Ayoze Pérez

The 28-year-old featured in City's 1-1 draw with Spartak Moscow in their previous Europa League encounter.

Although recent league results have not been as positive as Leicester would have liked, Pérez believes it is only a matter of time before the Foxes return to form. 

The forward added: “[Rodgers] is trying to make us get back to the basics. I think that’s the right idea in this situation when you have to not overthink things. The main message is really clear - to make sure we do the fundamentals as well as we can - and we are sure that the win is close to coming.

“When we make mistakes, they turn into a goal against and then the game changes, it’s a different dynamic, so that’s what we need to make sure we change, to improve. We’ve been working on that and discussing what we can do better and what each individual can give to the team.

“We’ve got the quality to create chances and the game can go your way, it depends on many things. Football is all about little details and mistakes from one team or the other and this is what we’re trying to do – reduce the mistakes. Then we will be closer to getting the wins and better results.”

All times GMT.

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