Leicester City need to ignore football’s need for pragmatism

Ryan Benson

The Premier League champions are in a relegation battle. After Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to Southampton, Leicester City were left languishing in 15th place and only five points above the bottom three, with their current form showing little sign of improvement.

They’ve lost seven and won two games in the Premier League since October 22, while they’ve not won away from home, all season. It was their impressive form on the road last term, which was a major contributor to their title success.

No one expected Leicester to mount much of a title defence, particularly considering they failed to add any significant depth to their aging centre-back options, but they do still have the chance to make this campaign similarly memorable.

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Leicester are, of course, still in the Champions League. They took full advantage of being in a fairly hospitable group alongside Porto, Club Brugge and Copenhagen, finishing top and booking passage to the knockout phase.

Either way, Leicester were likely to come up against a side superior to themselves and perhaps they have been given a tougher draw than they would have liked against a Sevilla side giving the big boys a run for their money in La Liga.

But in a two-legged tie, Leicester will be adamant that they have a chance, particularly with the second-leg taking place at the King Power Stadium. And progression would mean the continuation of their fairytale.

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Many have suggested that the Champions League has been part of their issue; that European football has been a major distraction for Leicester and impacted negatively on their domestic form. Perhaps that is the case – we’ve seen it many times in the past.

Graeme Souness commented on Sky Sports after Sunday’s loss that Leicester need to – and should have right from the start of the season – focus all of their attention on the Premier League rather than European pipedreams.

But where’s the adventure in that?

Granted, if Leicester continue to focus on the Champions League it could well backfire as result in them getting relegated. But, regardless of whether they beat the drop this term, when are Leicester realistically going to get back into the Champions League?

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This season has seen them effectively revert to the team many would have expected to see last term, which gives even more credence to the idea that Leicester’s wait for another Champions League appearance will be a long one.

So, with that in mind, Leicester should go all out in the Champions League and make the most of it while they can. Yes, there’s the risk that relegation will sneak up on them, but they are far more likely to bounce back at the first time of asking than to qualify for Europe’s elite competition again in the next ten years.

Maybe it’s be a risk, but if Leicester City can win the Premier League, anything is possible.

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