Former Manchester United defender Ritchie de Laet has said that Leicester City are raring to go when the season kicks off this weekend. Leicester City managed to miss out on promotion last season after suffering a defeat against Watford in the cruellest of circumstances last season.
Now, they are being fuelled by this defeat according to de Laet, who recently made the move to Leicester a permanent one. Pre-season has been extremely tough for the club, but it has helped them get a lot of fitness under their belt according to de Laet.
Leicester City’s first match of the season will be against Middlesbrough. Even though Middlesbrough are only expected to be a play-off contender, this is unlikely to prevent Leicester City from having one of the toughest matches of the season. They will be facing another contender for the promotion spots in the form of Leeds United next weekend. De Laet has said that it is imperative that Leicester go into the Leeds match with three points on the board from this encounter. Middlesbrough have been so far brilliant in the pre-season friendly matches, and Leicester expect a tough encounter.
Leicester City, though, have a great record against Middlesbrough at the Riverside stadium as they have not suffered a defeat since 2002.
“We have had four or five weeks of really hard graft and we just want to get going now. I feel all right. I have had a couple of 45 minutes and a full 90 as well, so I feel great and I just want to get going. We have done a lot of running and we had a really hard week in Austria, where it was hot with high humidity. It was training in the mountains and good preparation. It is looking good,” said the former United man.
Nigel Pearson, the manager of Championship club Leicester City has admitted that although his side is in brilliant physical shape as they start the new season of football, the key to be successful this campaign will be to remain mentally tough throughout the season and focus solely on the challenges in front.
The Foxes finished their pre-season preparations with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of lowly Notts County but bounced back to defeat Middlesbrough 2-1 in their first match of the Championship campaign over the weekend. And Pearson has admitted that the challenges lying ahead for the club are tough and the only way to overcome those challenges is by turning their ability with the football into victories and for that to happen, the players need a level of mental toughness.
Pearson mentioned that in terms of fitness, the Leicester City players are absolutely fine, but admitted that it is almost amazing how much harder and further one can run if one is in a good nick mentally. He mentioned that he will have to wait till the start of the season to get an idea of that though.
Pearson is adamant that it is what holds the key to success. He added that one can have all the ability in the world but the foundation for success is laid by the commitment and the desire to make things happen, even when the going gets tough. He stated that sometimes, teams have to tough it out and many teams have been found wanting in that area at various times in their seasons.
And Pearson believes with the players he has and the kind of pre-season training they have had, there is no reason Leicester City cannot mount another challenge to reach the Premier League directly or through the play-offs.