The five key quotes from Brendan Rodgers' pre-AEK Athens press conference
Brendan Rodgers, Manager of Leicester City looks on following the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Leicester City at Bramall Lane on December 06, 2020, in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Nick Potts - Pool/Getty Images)

Leicester City host AEK Athens in their final game of the UEFA Europa League group stage on Thursday evening.

The Foxes have already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition but their finishing position is yet to be decided. A win at the King Power Stadium will secure top spot, with a draw enough to do the same if Braga fail to win against Zorya Luhansk.

Manager Brendan Rodgers spoke to the media ahead of the game.  

On team selection

Throughout their time in Europe, Leicester have rotated their squad regularly with the midweek games being used as a time for key players to rest.

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However, with Thursday’s game having increased importance as they look to finish top of Group G, Rodgers may look to field a stronger starting line-up to secure the three points.

He said: “We’ll do what we have done throughout the competition and pick a team we think can win the game. There are so many games, but the squad have been first class. We’ll pick a strong team to try and get the result."

On rotation

As mentioned, the Foxes have regularly rotated throughout the season, but a lot of the changes were enforced due to a barrage of injuries.

Rodgers explained that having to deal with rotation is becoming the norm due to the fixture schedule combined with the absences of key players.

“It’s no different, in relation to what we’ve done all season,” he said. “We’ve had to manage the group because of the injuries we’ve had and the competitions we’ve been in.”

On Timothy Castagne

One of these injured players is Timothy Castagne who has been sidelined for the past two months. The full-back signed from Atalanta in the summer began his Leicester career very well and quickly became a key player.

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After it seemed like Castagne would return relatively fast, the Belgian’s recovery has taken longer than expected and Rodgers gave an update on his fitness and return date.

He said: “He is joining in with the group and in the final stage of rehab. Just trying to make sure he comes through all the tests and measures. [He] won't be involved tomorrow but hopefully sooner rather than later."

On Caglar Soyuncu

Caglar Soyuncu did make his return to first-team football against Zorya Luhansk last week but he only managed to complete 14 minutes before having to come off after exaggerating his knock.

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This proved to be a disaster for the Foxes as they seemed to have a key defender back fit and ready to play. Rodgers spoke about his injury and gave an update on Soyuncu’s fitness.

"I don't want to get locked into a time,” he said. “It will be about how he feels. He has to get comfort in it. He is out on the field and gone through movement patterns. Hopefully sooner rather than later. The scan was clear. It shows how he feels because he isn't quite there."

On racism in football

Rodgers also spoke about the incident that occurred on Tuesday evening, when the players of both teams walked off the pitch during the match between PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir.

The fourth official was accused of racism by the Istanbul players and the match was suspended after neither team wanted to continue with the game.

The Leicester boss gave his thoughts on their decision. He said: “It was the right thing to do. If you are going to make a stand against this type of behaviour it needs drastic action... I take my hat off to them."

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