The five key quotes from Brendan Rodgers' pre Zorya Luhansk press conference
BRAGA, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 26: Coach Brendan Rodgers of Leicester City during the UEFA Europa League match between Sporting Braga v Leicester City at the Estádio Municipal de Braga on November 26, 2020 in Braga Portugal (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Leicester City play their penultimate fixture of the UEFA Europa League group stages on Thursday as they travel to Ukraine to face Zorya Luhansk.

After a disappointing defeat to Fulham on Monday night, Brendan Rodgers will be hoping his side can return to winning ways and maintain their unbeaten start to life in Europe this season.

With qualification already assured from Group G with two games to spare, the Foxes are likely to rotate heavily to allow some players to get some much-needed game time.

The Leicester boss spoke to the press to give his thoughts ahead of the clash at the Slavutych Arena.

On rotating the squad

Thursday night presents the perfect opportunity for players recovering from injury to build up their match fitness as well as several youngsters who will get to experience their first taste of senior football.

The likes of Wilfred Ndidi and Caglar Soyuncu will all step up their fitness levels with Pereira set to play for the first-team for the first time since March.

Rodgers is also using the opportunity to call up several youngsters. Under-23's captain Callum Wright has travelled with the squad as has the highly-rated Portuguese midfielder Sidnei Tavares who impressed during his time with the seniors during pre-season.

Others include Tyrese Shade, Shane Flynn and 16-year-old Ben Nelson, who could become the youngster player to play for the Foxes since Ashley Chambers and despite the expected rotation, it's a game the 47-year-old wants to win.

Rodgers said: "It’s a game we want to win, we have already qualified but it gives us an opportunity to play some players we have coming back, but also to play some young players that we’ve brought with us but we want to win the game.”

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On the return of Ricardo Pereira 

One of the most exciting things Leicester fans will look forward to is the long-awaited return of Ricardo Pereira.

The right-back hasn't played for the first-team in almost nine months after he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in a win over Aston Villa.

After featuring in a game for the Under-23's to help the Portugal full-back to boost his match fitness, his boss confirmed that the 27-year-old will play a part in Zaporizhzhia.

He said: “He's really excited about being back. We’ll look to give him about 75 minutes tomorrow. He’s one of the best fullbacks in European football. He’s hard to beat, and going forward, he’s like a winger. He can score, and set players up. It’ll be great to get him back."

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On the opposition 

This will be the second meeting between the two sides after they both came up against each other on match day one of the competition. 

The Foxes were 3-0 winners against Viktor Skrypnyk's men but his managerial counterpart highlighted that his own team will have to be at their best if they want to come back with the three points.

He said: “I noticed in the first game that they’re a very good team, with good structure and a diamond formation which is difficult to play against. For us to win we have to play well with a lot of quality in our performance.”

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On resting key players 

Whilst there will be the opportunity for youngsters to stake their claim to break into Rodgers' first-team plans, the game in Ukraine will give the Northern Irishman to give some well-needed rest to some of his more key players.

The likes of Jonny Evans and Kasper Schmeichel haven't travelled to Eastern Europe, with Rodgers highlighting the need to rest players ahead of a hectic Premier League schedule.

He said: "We have left a few players behind. Evans, [Youri] Tielemans, and Schmeichel. They have been important for us and for their international teams. They need a rest. Jamie [Vardy] as well. It allows them to prepare for the game at the weekend."

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On the benefits of rest 

After revealing just some of the players that hadn't travelled with his squad, Rodgers expanded on why he feels it is important to rotate his first-team members.

The 47-year-old said: "I’ve seen that tiredness in the team. They’re having to play so much. Jonny and Kasper and Youri are having to play international games, and it’s the travel too. We have Kels [Iheanacho] and Ayo [Perez] who can replace Vardy. We don’t take the game lightly. It’s good to give them a rest.”

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