Great start for Brendan Rodgers as he watched Leicester City getting back to winning ways against Brighton

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Newly appointed Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers watched from the stands as he witnessed the first test of his managerial time at King Power Stadium. The fact that Claude Puel had just left the chair and a new man was appointed just hours after the departure, might give an idea of how clear it was that Leicester City wanted Brendan Rodgers as their new manager.

Brendan Rodgers has done well in his previous positions at Liverpool and Celtic and peaked their teams with new addition of players and dealing with pressure at two of the biggest “football brands” in the World.

He has of course noticed the development at Leicester City and will be eager to get this club into a challenging position and hopefully attract the type of players that can make impact straight away, instead of using the first team as a development platform, something Claude Puel had done, and of course got mixed results in that way.

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The team put on grass against Brighton was probably the best at the moment, and the team that should be playing, just an easy pick really and no fuzz. No talk of using Premier League as a development area, but going for the three points all the time and hopefully Brendan Rodgers will continue to do just that.

The start was perfect for Rodgers and his next test will be away to his former club Watford. Rodgers has a past at Vicarage Road, taking over the club back in 2008, and guiding them to a safe position in the Championship, ending 13th. Rodgers left to take over Reading just after the season finish.

We hope and believe that Brendan Rodgers will be the appointment needed to get the club into the best shape possible, reach the goals as they are established and really get all people related to Leicester City backing their own team.

What we all hope for is that as the Premier League progress, as we see it developing and hopefully more of the major clubs are finding their path, Leicester City can again challenge the top six and be counted, maybe establish a run in Europe on a regular basis and be there to fight for domestic cup titles.

Looking at the previous appointments of Leicester City managers, this was one faster that anyone have seen before, but also the first ever  to be brought in from a major competitor and really blinking out as a “special one”.

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Rodgers will be the fourth N Irish manager to take charge of Leicester City, counting Nigel Worthington, Martin O’Neill and Bryan Hamilton as the three others. Rodgers has led Liverpool to a runners-up medal in the Premier League and of course won many trophies while at Celtic. He was in charge at Swansea City when they got promoted from the Championship, and his list of good work is long and well documented.

Rodgers was a popular man at Celtic, despite not reaching the Champions League final rounds this season and being knocked out of the Europa League this term. His tenure at Celtic Park might have been coming to a stage where challenges might be difficult to find and without financial backing as needed to progress from the current level, he might have seen his time at Celtic close to finish anyway.

The former Liverpool boss will take with him Kolo Toure to Leicester City. His experience is well known as a former player at Man City, Liverpool and Celtic, and as well as Rodgers assistant after retirement from his time as a player. Chris Davies and Glen Driscoll are also coming in.

Tcf hope that there will be a place going forward for Adam Sadler and Mike Stowell who both have worked under different managers and being juggled in different positions as former Leicester City managers have seen their capacity and great knowledge.

Looking at progress and brining forward young talent, you would first of all name players such as Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (Reading / Swansea), both under the wings of Rodgers when breaking into their teams.

Talking transfers, he has done well at Celtic and Liverpool, with players such as Firmino and Coutinho, and later adding enough talent to a Celtic team that has progressed under Rodgers and qualified for Champions League and also been able to keep the performances running in the SPL and domestic Scottish cups.

We hope that Rodgers will have a more direct approach towards reaching good results and winning games instead of looking at a development strategy with too much young players and not really peaking Leicester City as a major force in the Premier League.

To be able to do both is difficult and at the moment what Leicester City need now is a steady hand who knows how to peak performance and establish the team in a challenging positon for a top six finish.

 

Leicester 2, Brighton 1, positives and negatives, player ratings and match report

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Mike Stowell and Adam Sadler was in charge for this one against Brighton, as new manager Brendan Rodgers were in the stands watching a team chasing a win to satisfy the former Celtic boss.

The team selection was as Tcf would have said, spot on, just playing the obvious eleven that all of us would have picked. A good balance between midfield and the forward line and with Demarai Gray and Jamie Vardy in their preferred positions.

Both players showed great form and with Youri Tielemans also adding that little extra flair in midfield, you are set up with a group of players that can score goals and be on top of their performance

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Opposite of previous performances Leicester were out of the blocks from start and after just 10 minutes, Demarai Gray was played through by Yourie Tielemans and a perfect placed shot found the net behind Brighton goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.

Leicester continued to put pressure on Brighton during the first half, but The Seagulls also had their chances but was cut short as Kasper Schmeichel put his safe hands on all attempts coming as far as to the Leicester City goal.

To see a Leicester City team as solid as this one, was a great change and everything looked settled and in place, all players looked as if they believed this would be a winning formula as they came on for 2nd half.

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Young players will always be a bit up and down, but with experienced heads in Jamie Vardy and Kasper Schmeichel especially, the youngsters rallied on, with Harvey Barnes terrorising the Brighton defense at times, but his finishing must improve.

Barnes could have scored at least two goals, but instead it was Jamie Vardy who came last on that great Maddison assist and Leicester City were 2-0 up after 63 minutes. What a great “picture”, and what a response after that dreadful performance against Palace.

But as Leicester City and Jamie Vardy had scored the 2-0 goal, lack of concentration let Brighton into the game just minutes after and Propper scored just three minutes later, without getting too much pressure from the Leicester City defenders.

Harry Maguire made a great run from his own half a bit later on, in Maradona style passing 5 or 6 Brighton players and as he moved into the penalty box, came close to a fantastic finishing, but it all ended in a corner, but well done from the Leicester City defender, closely watched from the stands by England coach Gareth Southgate.

  • Positives:
    • Winning at home with a relatively solid performance
    • Perfect team selection and substitutions during the game
    • Gray and Vardy shows their quality and great finishing
    • Stowell and Sadler just doing the business, and doing a great job
    • Maguire taking charge and going forward in style
    • Rodgers getting a great display, watching from the stands
    • Great saves from Schmeichel, doing his job as captain
  • Negatives:
    • Conceding just minutes after scoring 2-0, not on their toes
    • Not much possession, a bit against the philosophy, but it works
    • Barnes needs to score from the chances he create, not clinical enough
  • Player Ratings: Schmeichel 8. Pereira 6, Chilwell 7, Maguire 7, Evans 6, Ndidi 6, Tielemans 7, Gray 7, Barnes 7, Vardy 7, Maddison 7, Subs: Mendy, Okazaki,  Iheanacho

Match Stats: H/A

  • Possession: 45 / 55
  • Corners: 4 / 8
  • Shots on target: 2 / 2
  • Shots wide: 11 / 9
  • Fouls: 6 / 4
  • Offsides: 1 / 4

 

The way forward, the manager candidates, positives and negatives

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Leicester City will be searching for a new manager and so far it’s very early days with Adam Sadler and Mike Stowell given the job until a new solution is found.

Claude Puel was an odds favorite before the season to be the first to leave his job, so candidates have been listed up one by one at an earlier stage, some of those names are of course back in the frame, with new alternatives also listed.

Speculations are many, will Leicester City go for someone in a caretaker capacity as Man Utd have done and made huge success with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, or will they just try to find the next one as fast as lightening strikes, not much said so far.

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As TCF has said before, the problem for Leicester City isn’t really the management but what type of system and control the club have on sports development and how the club should be ran long term and of course the way of playing football.

As we could see with Claude Puel he tried to change both players and style and that is a tall order to manage with a group of old horses still very important for the team and if you have to change players at the age of 30+, then you are in difficulties.

Managers are coming in all types and shapes and they have their own ideas on how they would like to play football, what system their prefer and how they really like their teams to perform and look like, then you have to look at works best were you are going.

Leicester have since winning the 15/16 PL trophy tried to change their winning formula and changed back, as what happened when Craig Shakespeare took over from Claudio Ranieri who had started to transform his team into a more possession orientated side.

Claude Puel made a new version of a “hybrid” that now looked a bit toothless at times and the squad has been unstable with a lot of changes and troubled moves and transfers not really working out.

So why are those at the “Top” reluctant to all this and really have no idea on how this club should perform to win football games and what the platform should be. It’s not enough to build new facilities and have nice green grass to play on, you need to have an idea and long term ambition and really say it out load what that is, and moving the club forward with that as a target.

Leicester City had a great team in the PL winning season, with key players in that team picked up by Man City and Chelsea and even one of them going on to win the FA Cup, Premier League and World Cup.

The shape of the team that won the league was a perfect blend, that type of blend that often gives success. A great mix of players with a good past at the club, a few new faces at the right age and some with experience of winning that same trophy in the past.

The last and very important ingrediens is to have a few old and experienced heads, who are prepared to be able to step in when needed and not really asking for anything.

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The last little “secret” is to have a few young players really knocking on the door and make the competition stiff so that all are on their toes. This was also perfectly in place.

So what will a new manager inherit when coming in, first of all there are a lot of positives, but a lot is missing to get this back on track, since Claude Puel had introduced so many youngsters that you will be seeing performances with a great top level, but also low as the bottom of the sea, since the players are a bit young and the backbone of the team at the moment is shivering with players in their 30’s still having a big impact and also on long term deals.

Players are on the way out and the group that won the PL back in 15/16 are starting to age. To get the balance right again will be the most important job, to get in four to five players in the age group between 25 to 29, and hopefully again get the squad balanced right.

There should also be a discussion on what type of players you need for the style you should adapt to, and if you have a player like Jamie Vardy on a long term contract, surely his best skills should be taken into consideration.

Seeing the names listed is a thrill, since all these managers have a style and some of them will be adaptable, but in a way “romantically” turn back to were they came from, as you could see with Ranieri, and in a way not take into consideration the squad you have and how you work with players that might not be as adaptable as you would like them to be.

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Under you will find the candidates that we have found “in the papers”, those we believe are other good alternatives and a few just thrown in there to make it a bit more interesting.

  • Top Odds
    • Brendan Rodgers
      • positives, British, sort of adaptable, a good coach, can attract players
      • negatives, possession orientated, quite similar approach as Puel
    • Rafael Benitez
      •  positives, Experienced, good defensively, cool under pressure
      • negatives, possession orientated, quite similar approach as Puel
    • Roberto Martinez
      • positives, Experienced and good man management skills
      • negatives, A possession lover, Puel de lux
  • Middle Odds
    • Sean Dyche
      • positives, British, likes to do it simple, would love life with Vardy
      • negatives, Flintstone football, not really a squad at LCFC for his game
    • David Moyes
      • positives, British, likes to do it simple, would love life with Vardy
      • negatives, Flintstone football, not progressive, a bit old fashion
    • Sam Allardyce
      • positives, British, defensive genius, would love life with Vardy
      • negatives, Flintstone football, not progressive, a bit old fashion
  • Low Odds
    • Nigel Pearson
      • positives, British, gave birth to the counter attacking style at Leicester
      • negatives, grumpy, difficult to handle and a bit shady
    • Neil Lennon
      • positives, hard battling, a soldier, knows the hard way
      • negatives, grumpy, angry and not as tactical as you would like
    • David Wagner
      • positives, knows the PL, continental approach, can develop players
      • negatives, tense and eager to change too much to fast
  • Interim Alternatives
    • Micky Adams
      • positives, great coach, likeable, adaptable and pragmatic approach
      • negatives, not really in the game at the moment, too nice
    • Matt Elliott
      • Legend and MON based approach, great presence
      • Litte experience from management at this level
    • Michael Appleton
      • positives, knows this group well, pragmatic and no nonsense style
      • negatives, left just a few months ago, not really a fresh face
    • Harry Redknapp
      • positives, experienced and a great knowledge base
      • negatives, can’t sell and buy players which is his greatest asset
    • Craig Shakespeare
      • positives, knows the group well, would have sorted it out
      • negatives, got sacked, too fast to return at this stage probably
    • Adam Sadler / Mike Stowell
      • positives, knows the group well, great coaching abilities
      • negatives, no real management experience
  • Wild Cards
    • Peter Stöger
      • positives, counter attacking, continental and currently available
      • negatives, unknown to the PL, needs time to settle in
    • Mikel Arteta
      •  positives, the School of Pep and Wenger, great football mind
      • negatives, possession de lux, needs time, no management experience
    • Arsene Wenger
      • positives, experienced and heavily competitive, would lift spirit
      • negatives, inpatient, a bit grumpy, too demanding
    • Frank Lampard
      • positives, highly competitive, great football mind, great personality
      • negatives, unexperienced, a rookie and risky choice
    • Thierry Henry
      • positives, a great football mind, good coach, reachable
      • negatives, a bad start in management,
    • Patrick Vieira
      • positives, been abroad learning, good relations in the game
      • negatives, no PL management experience
    • Paul Clement
      • positives, underrated, and a great base of knowledge
      • negatives, not the best results in difficult circumstances
    • Graham Potter
      • positives, a great team builder and fantastic in bringing forward talent
      • negatives, not been showing enough at Swansea yet

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