Leicester boss Rodgers relishing 'perfect' finale against Man Utd

LONDON (Reuters) - Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers shrugged off Sunday’s 3-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur and believes next week’s Premier League finale at home to Manchester United is “perfect” as they try and seal a top-four finish.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - July 19, 2020 Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers with Leicester City's Jamie Vardy and Wes Morgan after the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pool via REUTERS/Michael Regan

When Leicester won eight successive league games between October and December they looked odds-on for a top-four finish and even looked capable of chasing Liverpool for the title.

But they have fallen away badly, winning only five times in the league in 2020 and they are in real danger of missing out on a Champions League qualification spot.

They remain fourth but are level on 62 points with fifth-placed United who can open up a three-point lead if they beat West Ham United in their game in hand.

United could also establish a goal difference advantage with a healthy win over West Ham (they are both +28), but Rodgers believes it will all come down to the last game of the season.

“It will be absolutely perfect. It will be all in,” Rodgers, whose side have been hit by injuries to James Maddison and Ben Chilwell since the resumption, said.

“The players have been fantastic. We’ve got one last opportunity. Whatever the result was today, we needed a result next week.”

Had anyone said last August that Leicester would be in with a chance of the top four with one game remaining, the club’s fans would have gladly signed up for that scenario.

But it would be a body blow to miss out, even if Rodgers was doing his best to disguise that on Sunday when they trailed 3-0 at halftime against Tottenham Hotspur.

“I always felt that no matter how well you do, there will always be disappointment,” Rodgers said. “Others will be gratified with the work done over the past 17 months to be in this position. I know there will be both feelings.

“The players, what they’ve done in the past 17 months, to put themselves in this position, it’s brilliant.”

Rodgers said his players were “leggy” at Tottenham but said they have a week to refresh themselves.

“I don’t want to be too negative,” he said. “We go into a game next week with a fantastic chance to get into the Champions League. Top six was the aim, which you guys would admit would be a fantastic achievement.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar