Brendan Rodgers switches Leicester’s focus back to Premier League after cup win
Brendan Rodgers has stressed Leicester have more work to do as they prepare for another huge game against Chelsea.
Having beaten the Blues to win a first FA Cup title on Saturday, Leicester now take on Thomas Tuchel’s side at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday in a game that could be critical for both teams’ Champions League hopes.
Boss Rodgers said: “It’s an amazing feeling when you can give something to people that they’ve never had before. Just the sense of achievement for everyone has been absolutely brilliant.
“We’ve enjoyed the moment but it’s a quick turnaround now and there’s work to be done.”
The Foxes currently sit in third place, two points ahead of Chelsea with two games remaining, but Liverpool’s dramatic late victory against West Brom on Sunday has piled the pressure on both.
Rodgers said: “We talked about it beforehand. We knew we didn’t have any favours in the fixtures. Obviously we could have played on the Wednesday but we’re playing on the Tuesday so ultimately you have to be ready and prepared.
“Obviously it’s another extremely tough game. We recovered yesterday, finish off our preparations today and then look forward to the game tomorrow evening.”
We focus on ourselves and we've got a great opportunity to qualify. With two games to go, we aim to take it.
Liverpool looked set for only a point against the relegated Baggies until goalkeeper Alisson Becker headed in a stoppage-time winner – the sort of moment that will have Reds fans feeling a top-four spot is meant to be.
Not Rodgers, though, who said: “There’s no ramifications for us. Everything’s still in our hands. The players have been absolutely brilliant up until this point. We’ve got European football, we’ve got two games now to arrive into the top four.
“It’s obviously an amazing header by Alisson to score the goal. But we focus on ourselves and we’ve got a great opportunity to qualify. With two games to go, we aim to take it.”
Saturday’s final was a tight game decided by Youri Tielemans’ stunning goal, and Rodgers expects a similar affair on Tuesday.
He said: “I think it will be tactically the same. Two teams, super organised, it’s going to be a tight game. That was the beauty of it.
“Maybe neutrals are looking for 5-4 for an FA Cup final but two teams pressing, organised, not so many chances in the game, and then eventually a moment of quality from Youri and a moment of quality from Kasper (Schmeichel) allows us to win the cup.
“If it’s the same tomorrow night, then I’ll be really pleased. They’re in the Champions League final for a reason because they’ve got an incredible squad of players. We know we’ll have to work really, really hard, be equally as aggressive and see if we can make our opportunities count.”
Rodgers was tight-lipped on the possibility of a new contract for Tielemans following his starring role, saying: “There’s no latest. He’s obviously contracted to the club, he’s clearly a player that I love working with, and we’ll see what the summer brings with that.”
The Foxes boss is not expecting Leicester to spend huge money in the summer even if they qualify for the Champions League, but he hopes cup success will make the King Power an attractive destination.
“I think success always aids in the recruitment of players,” he said. “Leicester hopefully is an attractive club. When you win a cup final against such a big opponent then of course that can let players see that they want a piece of that and hopefully that can be the case in the summer.”
Leicester will be without defender Jonny Evans, who limped off during the first half on Saturday with an ongoing heel problem, while Cengiz Under (hip) may also be unavailable.