Leicester City qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League on Thursday evening after drawing 3-3 against Braga thanks to a last gasp Jamie Vardy equaliser.
The Foxes came from behind on three separate occasions to claim a draw and the point meant that they progress through to the Round of 32. Vardy’s leveler followed a goal from Harvey Barnes and a maiden strike from academy graduate Luke Thomas.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers revealed his thoughts to the media in his post-match press conference:
On progressing through to the knockout stages:
The result means that Rodgers’ side move onto the next stage of the competition after only four games, with one more win from the final two games enough to win the group.
The Foxes boss looked ahead to their next goal and praised his team’s performance to come back and draw the game.
He said: “It’s great to qualify, that was the objective. Our next ambition is to win the group. Europe is never easy but to come away and draw we showed a wonderful spirit.”
On the improved second-half performance:
Leicester began the game slowly and went a goal down within five minutes. Barnes smashed home a quick equaliser; however, Braga retook the lead and headed into the break a goal up.
The poor first-half performance led to Rodgers feeling forced to change his team’s tactics and players at half time.
“The first half was too slow, too static, Braga were better than us,” he explained. “But the second half was outstanding. We changed system and dictated the tempo. Youri Tielemans and James Maddison in midfield were real catalysts for that.”
All of the players that the Foxes manager brought on made a big impact on the game. Rodgers was pleased with how his changes managed to affect the dynamic of the game and they ultimately made the difference when Leicester needed a way back into the game.
He said: “If we had to chase the game we could change our shape, those players brought a different dynamic. They made a big difference.”
On responding to the loss against Liverpool:
After losing 3-0 to Liverpool at the weekend, Leicester aimed to use this midweek game to bounce back to winning ways.
The Foxes may not have won the game but they showed the fight to come back three times and draw , proving that they still have a positive mentality despite the loss in the Premier League.
Rodgers said: “This was a great opportunity to respond, we did that. That’s key. You never have it all your own way at the elite level but we came back and showed what we know we have.”
On the performance and looking ahead:
The Leicester manager was pleased with the overall performance of his side and looked ahead to the next game as they travel to Craven Cottage to face struggling Fulham on Monday evening.
“We were pleased with the quality and some of our play, and especially pleased with our physicality,” he said. “We wanted European football, now we have to go away and get ready for Fulham.”