'Basketball game' - Rodgers shares what he noticed about Leeds before Leicester game
Brendan Rodgers said that Leeds United want to suck their opponents into a “basketball match”, and that his Leicester City side won by avoiding it.
The Foxes ran out 4-1 winners on Monday night, with goals from Harvey Barnes, Jamie Vardy and a Youri Tielemans brace sealing the win.
Stuart Dallas’ second-half goal got the match back to 2-1 in the second half and Leeds dominated possession throughout, but Leicester proved deadly on the counter-attack.
“It starts from a way out when you’re watching Leeds and how they play,” Rodgers said at full-time, via the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“I watched closely the game against Aston Villa and you see how they play. They want to really attack the game. They play with wingers and stretch the pitch. They’ve got great mobility and rotation. Ideally they want a basketball game where it is up and down the pitch.
“You have to ensure you don’t get involved in that. You have to play and have that confidence to play but also be able to deny them space.”
Adapting the system
With Vardy, Barnes and Cengiz Under, Leicester are a very dangerous team on the counter attack, as they have proved on a number of occasions already this season.
During Monday’s match Leeds dominated the ball and much of the territory (67% possession), but struggled to create good quality chances. Leeds generated just 1.0 in expected goals, compared to the 3.6 xG created by Leicester (via FBRef). For Barnes opener and Vardy’s goal to make it 3-1, Leicester travelled from one end of the pitch to the other incredibly quickly and managed to create tap-ins.
Now, while the Foxes are perhaps one of the best sides in the division at executing such a strategy, Bielsa should take what happened on Monday into account when making his plans for future fixtures. Furthermore, the absence of key men such as Kalvin Phillips and Rodrigo limited Leeds in both attack and defence, an issue that the Argentine will also have to consider.
In other Leeds news, MOT View: How Bielsa found the perfect role for out of position Leeds United star