Brendan Rodgers

Rodgers Pleased With Cup Progression

Leicester City ‘got the job done’ by defeating Gillingham 1-0 in the Emirates FA Cup Third Round, according to Brendan Rodgers.
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- Leicester City progressed into the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round by beating Gillingham
- Kelechi Iheanacho scored the only goal at Priestfield Stadium
- Brendan Rodgers gave his post-match assessment of the win to LCFC TV
- The manager handed a full debut to Kasey McAteer as one of eight changes

Tough conditions made it a typical cup tie at Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon until Kelechi Iheanacho’s second-half goal settled the contest and avoided a cup upset against the Sky Bet League 2 outfit.

Speaking during his post-match interview, Rodgers spoke of his satisfaction at booking a place in the next round of the prestigious cup competition, recording a first win post-Christmas.

He told LCFC TV after full-time: “You were never going to win the style competition today, it was about getting through into the fourth round and the players did really well playing against a team who have had a tough run in the league, but coming into games like this, it’s like an FA Cup final for them against a Premier League team in front of the TV cameras.

“The wind made it very difficult. The pitch wasn’t as smooth as what we’re used to, but that’s what you’ve got to deal with. You’ve got to come away and get the result and that’s what we did. It worked out well for us.

“For us, the players’ mentality was really good, professional, standing up to high balls into the box, defending well, but with a little bit more composure and finishing we could have maybe scored more than one goal. But we scored the goal, it gets us into the next round and I’m pleased for the players.”

City switched to a different system for the game, with Jannik Vestergaard, Çağlar Söyüncü and Lewis Brunt all coming into the side as the back three, while Kasey McAteer also featured – making his full debut for the senior side.

Freshening up the team after three straight defeats, it also allowed recuperation time for several first team players, with a Carabao Cup tie against Newcastle United also on the horizon. The youngsters’ contributions, meanwhile, impressed Rodgers.

The Northern Irishman explained: “We changed the structure of the team, looking at availability and the players that we wanted to play. We had to give one or two some recovery because of the number of games they have been playing and there was maybe a little bit of fatigue in there.

“But also I wanted to give our young players an opportunity because this is where you find out about young players, when everything’s with you or everything’s against you, what’s the mentality like? Can you show desire in the game? I was pleased overall.

The one thing for today was getting to the fourth round. We’ve got this magical journey of winning it a couple of years ago and before that great day at Wembley you have to go to places like this here and do a job.

Brendan Rodgers LCFC TV

“They did very well. Kasey [McAteer] was excellent. He plays in a number of positions and has got good athleticism. He broke away in the second half as well. I think he will get better and better, he just needs more games.

“Lewis [Brunt] has got good composure, good size and in particular [in the] second half, I thought he was excellent. You’re always gauging with players because they’re not too young, they’re 21.”

With the fourth round draw taking place on Sunday afternoon, the 2021 FA Cup winners will soon know their next opponents as they continue to compete on three fronts domestically.

“It’s exciting,” City’s manager added. “I always want to know who we’ve got. The one thing for today was getting to the fourth round. We’ve got this magical journey of winning it a couple of years ago and before that great day at Wembley, you have to go to places like this here and do a job early on.

“We did that and now we can look forward to the draw and hopefully we get a good tie.”




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