Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 August 2019

Leicester manager Claude Puel: we prefer playing the big sides like Liverpool

Frenchman's side have beaten Chelsea and Manchester City in the Premier League this season and next face the league leaders

Leicester City manager Claude Puel wants his team to be more focussed at the start of matches having conceded early goals in their last three matches. Reuters
Leicester City manager Claude Puel wants his team to be more focussed at the start of matches having conceded early goals in their last three matches. Reuters

Leicester City manager Claude Puel hopes his side can continue their impressive recent record against the Premier League's big teams.

Puel masterminded victories against Chelsea and Manchester City over the Christmas period and also saw his side draw with Pep Guardiola's men earlier in December in the League Cup, before losing in a penalty shoot-out.

Leicester face a difficult run of fixtures in the coming fortnight. First up is a trip to Anfield on Wednesday to face Premier League leaders Liverpool, before in-form Manchester United visit the King Power Stadium on Sunday and then the Foxes then play Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on February 10.

Puel insists Leicester prefer to play against the big teams and he is confident his players will rise to the occasion once more.

"The three next games is a fantastic challenge for them," said the Frenchman.

"We have shown we can perform against good teams, we have won games also against good teams. I hope we can continue in this way.

"My players prefer to play against good teams like this and to show their level. It's less pressure, they can give their best with freedom. In this situation we can create an upset.

"We know the difficulty, and people outside think we can not have a chance to win a point, but we are confident because we showed a lot of qualities in the last games against big teams and great teams.

"I hope that we can have the possibility of winning against Liverpool, and then United at home. I hope we can create an upset. It is a fantastic challenge for the team. I am sure we will have a good game and I have confidence about our performances."

If Leicester are to get anything against Liverpool then halting their recent bad habit of conceding an early goal must be fundamental to their chances.

Leicester have found themselves a goal down before 11 minutes are on the clock in each of their last three matches and have gone on to lose every time, including in the embarrassing FA Cup exit at Newport County.

"We have some difficulties to start our games and after we have to chase the game against strong defensive units then it is always difficult, since the beginning of the season," Puel said.

"Sometimes we manage our game at the beginning and it is a good performance. The most important thing is to have the right intensity, focus and concentration for the beginning."

Harry Maguire is fit and available for the trip to Anfield. The central defender had to be substituted due to a leg injury early in the second half of the defeat at Wolves on January 19. The Foxes have not played since, as they are out of the FA Cup, and it has allowed Maguire the time he needed to make a full recovery.

Updated: January 30, 2019 08:34 AM

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