Brendan Rodgers to Leicester: Ex-Foxes coach explains massive challenge for new man

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 12:01pm

By Stuart Harlow

Brendan Rodgers will be asked to get Leicester into the top six of the Premier League if he takes over at Leicester, according to one former Foxes man.

Claude Puel was sacked on Sunday morning in the wake of Leicester's 4-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace, their fifth defeat in six league games.

It leaves the 2015/16 Premier League champions sitting 12th in the table, only eight points off the drop zone and at risk of spiralling into the battle to stay in the top flight.

But Matt Piper, a former Leicester midfielder who also worked as a youth coach at the club, reckons chairman Top Srivaddhanaprabha will be looking upwards not downwards next season.

"Top's dad Vichai had ambitions. He probably realised that we weren't going to win the Premier League again but I think Top himself reckons top six is reachable," Piper told The Brian Moore Show (weekdays 3pm-7pm).

"He's just invested £100m in a new training ground that will be built for next year, he's looking at expanding the stadium, he's got funds to spend and I think he's really going to have the bit between his teeth with a new manager.

"I think that new manager will have instructions to get them in and around the top six. That's what we have to hope for as a club now."

Former Southampton manager Puel guided Leicester to ninth in the table last year, a three-place improvement on the previous year, but looked unlikely to do so again despite having invested more than £80m on the squad.

But if there are positives to take from the recent days of the Frenchman's reign, it is his dedication to giving younger players opportunities to shine.

"I actually liked Puel. I thought it was such a difficult job that he had to come in and do," Piper added.

"He had to dismantle a Premier League-winning side with Premier League-winning players and change the philosophy of play because we were no longer set up to play counter-attacking football.

"What he has done is flooded the first team with youngsters and they have really taken their opportunity: Harvey Barnes, [Ben] Chilwell, [James] Maddison, [Hamza] Choudhury.

"I used to be a youth coach at Leicester and I've coached some of those lads so I'm praying that whoever comes in sticks with what Claude has started and sticks by some of those young guys because they've come in and be terrific.

Claude Puel CROPPED

"But Top, the chairman, has acted out of the defeat to Crystal Palace. I actually think he was going to change Claude Puel out at the end of the season and let him get that far.

"I thought the performance against Crystal Palace was alright, especially in the first half, but after it went 4-1, there was definitely a mood change in the ground.

"We know a lot of the fans have been against Puel but there was a definite change after a fourth went in."

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