Leicester City, the revolution of the players

The Spanish end Ayoze Pérez explains the quarry model and elaborate game that has pushed the club in central England to third place in the Premier.

Three years after winning the Premier by playing backlash with an Italian coach, Leicester City once again competes for the first places in the championship playing exactly the other way around with an English coach. The metamorphosis can be expressed in the 80th minute of Anfield’s game, on October 5.

Essential protagonist of the phenomenon

The Tenerife Ayoze Pérez, the essential protagonist of the phenomenon, describes it precisely: “We were going 1-0 down and Brendan Rodgers put me on top with Vardy. I tried to detach myself from Van Dijk to avoid physical contact and I stayed in an intermediate situation, several meters from Van Dijk and behind Fabinho. I received the Albrighton ball with the right direction and strength, and I could turn. Fabinho didn’t enter me because it would have been necessary. I raised my head and saw Maddison’s movement unchecking Van Dijk’s back. The timming was perfect. ”

It is not easy to break the mark of Van Dijk and Fabinho, two of the players with the highest averages of won duels and balls recovered in Europe. Much less, do it as the Leicester did, gaining time based on interior combinations of flyers such as Maddison and Albrighton, false ends such as Ayoze, sides that double as Pereira and a tip as Vardy, which does not touch the ball if it is not to finish off but distracts the opponent with a run to the second stick.

1-1 was a sample. Third of the Premier in ten days with 25 goals in favor and eight against, the Leicester numbers are the closest to the numbers of the City of Guardiola (32/9) and Liverpool Klopp (23/8) with half Budget The team represents the new renewal wave of English football. It is exotic and significant to be led by an English coach, Brendan Rodgers, who, as a Liverpool coach, has been the only one of his counterparts born in England who has been close to winning the league since the Premier format was inaugurated in 1991.

Brendan Rodgers respond

“Brendan does not respond to the English coach archetype,” says Ayoze. “It is made of another paste. He wants us to be dominators. And on top of that we have the staff, youth and talent to carry it out! “

“Brendan does not respond to the English coach archetype,” says Ayoze. “It is made of another paste. When he met me to offer me a contract, he made me feel important. I’ve always felt nine or ten , but he told me that he wanted me to play on end in a 4-3-3. That I will go down to associate with the interiors and that I will also seek the arrival to the goal. That we would be dominators. That we would get in touch with the ball a lot at the pace played here, that in 90 minutes it does not allow you to take a break … And on top of that we have the squad, youth and talent to carry it out! In Leicester the midfielders are baseball players. ”

Rodgers promoted the signing of Ayoze to Newcastle for 33 million euros last summer. For a few days, until they paid 45 million for Tielemans, the 26-year-old Spaniard was the most expensive player in the history of a club that invests more in infrastructure and reinforcements every season. According to the Transfermarkt portal, since the conquest of the title in 2016, the club’s owner, the Thai company King Power, closed the summer markets, successively signing 92, 88, 115, and 106 million euros. In addition, he dedicated 80 million to build one of the most avant-garde sports cities in the United Kingdom.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the president who died in a helicopter accident a year ago, was succeeded by his son Aiyawatt, whose football fanaticism surpasses that of his progenitror. The family ambition to make the club a reference in English football survives. Not only for the results. Also like that. With that purpose they signed Claude Puel in 2017 and began a transition that would take them away from Claudio Ranieri’s 4-4-2 in favor of a more sophisticated proposal. “Ranieri put the emphasis on unbalancing with individuals like Mahrez and Vardy; this Leicester is more associative,” says Ayoze.

Between 2016 and 2019 the club entered up to 230 million with the sales of Mahrez to the City, Kanté and Drinkwater to Chelsea, and Maguire to United. Dismissing their main references except for Vardy and Albrighton temporarily affected the team. Puel was in charge of going through the pothole. “We developed a different idea to evolve, we promoted young English U21s with talent to control the ball, and now Leicester is one of the teams with the best prospects for improving the Premier,” Puel warned in May.

The French set out to implement an elaborate game model. He resorted to the quarry to nurture the team with people like Gray, Chilwell, Barnes or Choudhury, and hired Ndidi, Maddison and Tielemans, the base of the current midfield, and Evans and Söyüncü, axis of the defense that breaks the mold by pulling The ball played. Three of the ten players who pass most in England are Leicester defenses: Chilwell, Evans and Söyüncü. By way of exaltation of the new chameleonic character, the fans dedicated a refrain to the team that elaborates from the back what jumps lines like lightning: ” We play from the back, we counter attack “.

Puel was dismissed last February after a bad run. “I worked from misunderstanding,” he laments. “In a traditional old school setting. I had to face the veterans [like Vardy] who wanted to insist on the way of playing that had made them win the title. I wanted to move on to something else because repeating that pattern of success was no longer possible. ”

Rodgers relieved Puel but, in addition to rehabilitating Vardy, he did not alter the program. Starting with his commitment to the youth of a staff with an average of 26 years. “With so much money, sometimes in England the quarry is neglected a bit,” notes Ayoze. “But Leicester is an ambitious club that works very well in the lower categories.”

Left-hander Ben Chilwell, a youth player, scored the first of the nine-goal series at Southampton when last October 25, Leicester won the biggest win in the opposing field in the history of the Premier: 9-0. The play started from the right, with a dribble from Ayoze who took the kick that caused Bertrand’s expulsion in the 10th minute. Ayoze would end up putting a hat-trick .

“The club has the ambition to do something important,” says the canary. “It is beyond winter. Many times in England Christmas, where so many games are played, they dictate what the league final will be. ”

Simeone version Luis Aragonés: “Insist, insist and continue to insist”

The rojiblanco coach says that there is no need to settle for another semifinal, the third in four years

Shortly before three in the afternoon, at which time he was summoned by Craig Shakespeare to concentrate, Mahrez was accompanied by his representative from the pizzeria to which Claudio Ranieri took the Leicester squad to taste Italian food. The Algerian took a few pizzas to the hotel. Last night Jamie Vardy had also joined the Italian diet. That carelessness in the hours before the game had nothing to do with the proud battle that Craig Shakespeare’s team presented and was praised by Diego Pablo Simeone. “What I take is a night of total football as we had planned. It was against a team that fights until the end, an exciting game, always with the risk that the Leicester made the 2-1 or we scored the backlash. ”

“Illusion, emotion, pride comes to mind. It was a very tough game, with a rival who is glad to see him compete, he never lowered his arms, he had us in suspense throughout the night, ”said Simeone, who intentionally repeated a speech that he thought was convenient to remember:“ The first day I arrived I said to the club that my only hope was to make an Atlético that would bother and be uncomfortable, I think we are fulfilling. ”

With the third semifinal in four years in their pocket, they asked Simeone about what his team has to do to take the step that leads them to conquer a Champions League. In the answer, the Cholo versioned in his own way the “win, win, win and win again” of Luis Aragonés. “We only have one way, insist, insist, insist, insist and continue insisting,” he added. Is Atlético a great team? Cholo was asked. “Great are Bayern, Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid, especially in economic terms. I don’t want to say that Atlético is not a big team, don’t put it in the headlines. We would not call a large team, we are a competitive team, that’s for sure, ”he replied.

Already more involved in the analysis of the game, Simeone spoke about the inclusion of Giménez as a fourth midfielder: “He is central, and will continue to be because he is a great defender. We have four fantastic centrals and I have said it many times. It gives me great joy, because we work with him and because we stay with him many times to prepare him. This year we suffered a lot with the loss of Augusto and Tiago. Saul, Gabi and Koke have played almost everything. Giménez has given us a hand at different times and for special games. It makes me very happy, because when guys try hard, when players want, things go well. ”

Saul’s explanation of his goal was very much in line with what his coach said: “They are things that are trained, in training we make defiicons and thinking it cold now is very similar to what we do in training,” he said. steering wheel. “Whenever I play in the band, I have an arrival,” said Saul, who did not hide the feeling of the squad: “We want to put the cake on the cake, but we can’t get off the ground. When we think in the long term, we’re not good at it. That doesn’t mean we don’t let’s look forward to it. “

“Three semifials in four years speak very well of the team’s work, we hope to continue in that line for a long time, although we know that it is not easy. It is only within reach of Barcelona, ​​Madrid and Bayern and we are getting into each other. But we have to to have the humility of always, if we compare ourselves with teams of greater budget we will be falling into a trap, “said Gabi captain of the team,” Compared with that of Bayern last year it was quite easy, “continued Gabi, who referred to the bombing that suffered his team at the hands of Guardila in the semifinals of last edition. “We already have enough experience in this type of games. It was clear that they were not going to lower their heads and I take the opportunity to fecitate them. The team that does not suffer in the Champions League does not deserve to remain in it. Now I am asking to be in the final.