How Brendan Rodgers has transformed Leicester City

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 06: Brendan Rodgers, Manager of Leicester City looks on prior to the Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at Etihad Stadium on May 06, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

A weird and wonderful season for Leicester City. An uninspiring start under Claude Puel has been quickly eclipsed by exciting appointment of Brendan Rodgers.

European football was a distant objective for Puel, although attempting to recreate the magical moments Claudio Ranieri produced was always going to be difficult – in fact, impossible. But even still, the UEFA Europa League was pinpointed as an achievable goal within the next two years.

Puel was unable to reach the two-year mark, but the projection of his side, had it reached the full-two year reign, would have left Leicester playing stagnant football hoping to avoid relegation to the Sky Bet Championship and that didn’t sit well with the owners, who want to push Leicester into the league of Europe’s elite.

What has Rodgers changed?

Statistically speaking, Rodgers had to initially address the obvious issue of conceding early goals. 27% of Leicester’s goals were conceded in the opening 20 minutes. Not only did that put them behind in a majority of fixtures but it also killed their momentum.

Rodgers decided to play Wilfred Ndidi slightly deeper, just in front of the centre-backs. Ndidi played as the defensive midfielder within Puel’s midfield composition but he played slightly higher and doesn’t yet have the maturity or awareness to adapt to the situation. The opposition would capitalise on this, plus there was the abundance of early errors that the team seemed to make and once again Leicester would find themselves behind inside15 minutes.

The composure has seemingly improved under Rodgers. It’s difficult to pinpoint why Leicester started so sluggishly when Puel was at the helm. Maybe it was his overly calm and measured approach that could be considered lethargic and uninspiring. The players would become almost drowsy and wouldn’t perform for the opening exchanges of the game.

Potentially it was the defence Puel got wrong. Christian Fuchs started in his final game in charge – the dismal 4-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at the King Power Stadium – whereas Ben Chilwell has held that position since Rodgers’ arrival. Fuchs has secured a one-year contract extension with the Foxes, but it’s almost certainly as a backup role to the future England star.

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