How Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers fixed the Foxes

Brendan Rodgers, manager of Leicester City (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Brendan Rodgers, manager of Leicester City (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images) /
Leicester City
Brendan Rodgers, manager of Leicester City (Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images) /

Leicester City have improved immeasurably in recent weeks, with better form contributing to shooting up the table. Here is how it has happened.

15 games played, 17 points gained, 13th in the Premier League, with only three points preventing the Foxes going above 9th place. The King Power club are rising fast. The poor start to the season has not provided a major obstacle to recent performances.

Interestingly, Brendan Rodgers seems to have made several small changes which have contributed to this sudden transformation. Plus, it would seem the luck – aside from injuries – has started to go more in our favour.

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What the Leicester City manager has changed

Leicester are 13th in the league when judged against expected goals minus expected goals against. This means they are roughly were they should be expected to be. The King Power side are only one position better on just xG. Clearly, the biggest improvement has been to concede less.

A major part of that has been less concession from set pieces – particularly corners. To be honest, this is less a change the Northern Irishman has made and more one of new set-piece coach Lars Knudsen. The coach is credited with creating a more aggressive defensive structure for corners, leading to less opportunities and more challenging for the ball aerially.

As well as this, the head coach seems to have miraculously stumbled across his best Leicester XI. The Foxes have seen the rise of Boubakary Soumare, Daniel Amartey, and James Maddison on the RW coincide with the uplift in form. Somehow, the fall of Jonny Evans due to injury has actually benefitted the King Power club.

The boss has revealed what he feels made the difference. As per LeicestershireLive:

"“[After Bournemouth] we spent the next week purely working on our defensive principles, how we press… you can’t win games unless you defend well… We can play at home, we can play away, we can score goals, but there’s a real resilience there with the team now. The clean sheet record over the last eight games shows that”"

Rodgers believes City have improved their defensive acumen, providing less clear-cut or one-on-one situations for attackers and giving Danny Ward the time to rebuild his confidence and focus on stopping shots. There is a togetherness in how the Foxes now defend,

That togetherness comes from understanding their individual roles, each other’s roles, and the position they have to play in Rodgers’ system. Communication and understanding has created the platform for defenders and midfielders to press collectively and win back the ball in dangerous areas.

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In essence, Leicester has seen set-piece aggression, a more unified starting XI, and a more potent defensive structure over recent weeks. This is what has turned the form around, and Rodgers deserves credit despite the controversy over his tenure.