Leicester’s goal for the season remains European qualification, Brendan Rodgers says. For the second year in a row, after finishing second to Liverpool at the end of 2019, the Foxes ended the year in the Champions League positions.
This time around, at four points ahead of Sunday’s trip to Newcastle, the distance to the current league leaders and champions is much smaller. Leicester have started 2020 with a game at St. James’ Stadium, and after spending most of the year in the top four, their 47-year-old manager maintains that the target has not changed despite talking about another title challenge. “Our goals are not going to change,” Rodgers said. For me, I am always honest, and our thinking is that if we could have European soccer again next season at this stage of the growth of the team, that would be a great accomplishment for us. “For me, I’m always honest, and our thought is if we can have European soccer again next season at this stage of the team’s development, that would be a great achievement for us. ” Manchester City and Liverpool are great teams that have been building for years, full of seasoned players, and we are not at that stage…. That’s my evaluation, but without the financial resources that allow those teams to achieve that stage, we are building something to be as successful as we can be…. We are going to continue this path, and our ambition is there, and there is the spirit. The fact that we are in this position for another year shows that there is a slow change in consistency. According to Rodgers, another top-six finish since qualifying for the Europa League last season will be a win for the 2015/16 title holders. It’s a different story for Newcastle rivals, who won the Premier League many times in the 1990s, but have experienced a difficult time in recent years. The Magpies have finished higher than 10th in the top flight just once in the last ten years, and the enticing soccer for which Kevin Keegan and Bobby Robson were renowned seems to have been lost on the club, with Newcastle scoring only one goal per game last season. “I think from what I see from Steve, he has tried to organize them in a way that doesn’t expose them. In the time Rafa (Benitez) was there, they exposed themselves and conceded goals. It’s a big club and one of those clubs where you have to win, but you have to win in a certain way, and that’s always important in terms of expectations. I think the way Steve has managed in the time he’s been there, it’s never been an easy job, but I’m pretty sure they’re as good in the table and in the points as they’ve been in the last couple of years at this point. “I think he has tried to organize them in a way that does not expose them from what I see from Steve. They exposed themselves during the time Rafa (Benitez) was there. In the 3-0 victory at Newcastle on New Year’s Day 2020, James Maddison scored a goal and should be fit for Sunday’s game. On Monday, the playmaker picked up a knee injury at Crystal Palace and defender Wesley Fofana was also forced to miss out, but the pair are expected to return against the Magpies along with Wilfred Ndidi, Youri Tielemans and Jamie Vardy.