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Saturday 21 September 2019

Rodgers: 'Euro tilt is a good problem to have'

RUN: Brendan Rodgers. Pic: Reuters
RUN: Brendan Rodgers. Pic: Reuters

Brendan Rodgers fears European qualification could pose problems for Leicester, but he would still relish the challenge.

The Foxes are among a host of teams in with a chance of finishing in seventh place, which would secure a Europa League spot if Manchester City win the FA Cup.

Many see the competition as a poisoned chalice, with a qualifying campaign likely to start in July, and Rodgers, who only took over the Foxes in February, would rather get a full pre-season with his squad.

However, he said: "If we qualified we'd have to embrace it. My job, my objective when I came here was to look to try and challenge for a European place.

"It's very, very difficult with the teams in that top six, but can we fight to bring European football back to Leicester?

"Whenever it comes we'll be ready to embrace it. It may be too soon for us this summer, we've only been together a short period of time, it would be nice to get a pre-season.

"I've experienced Europa League qualification when you have to come back really early, it can be a long slog, especially at this period when we have only just started.

"But whenever it comes we'll accept it and embrace it and it's hopefully something we can do in my time here."

Leicester snatched a 2-2 draw at West Ham on Saturday thanks to a stoppage-time winner from Harvey Barnes.

Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini, meanwhile, was left counting the cost of wrong offside calls for the second week running.

With the Hammers leading 2-1 in the final minute, substitute Lucas Perez rounded Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel and rolled the ball into the net.

The Spaniard was flagged offside, although replays showed he was level with Ben Chilwell when he latched onto Pedro Obiang's through-ball.

Two minutes later Leicester equalised when substitute Harvey Barnes clipped in his first goal for the club to secure a 2-2 draw and leave Pellegrini frustrated again.

"Thankfully VAR isn't out yet, so it's worked for us today," admitted Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers.

Just last weekend Felipe Anderson had a goal wrongly chalked off for offside as West Ham slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Manchester United.

And Hammers chief Pellegrini said: "Unfortunately for us, we have lost five points.

"Maybe if we had the points that we deserved from our last game against Manchester United and then today, we would be fighting for the seventh position in the table.

"But it is part of the game. When you have two games in a row with such big mistakes then of course it is difficult to understand or accept, but you must do it."

West Ham led twice through Michail Antonio and Perez, but Antonio added: "All you can do is go out there and give your best to try and get three points from every game, then we'll see where we finish."

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