Mentality of 2016 Premier League title winners is keeping Leicester in the hunt for silverware this season after FA Cup victory over Brentford
- Christian Fuchs, Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton are still driving Leicester on
- They are no longer first choice like in 2016 but they were key against Brentford
- The Foxes qualified for the FA Cup fifth round after Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal
The most important members of Leicester’s squad have started only 25 matches between them this season.
Title-winning veterans Christian Fuchs, Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton are on the fringes four years after their part in the one of the greatest footballing stories ever told but they are still driving their team towards another memorable campaign.
No longer part of Brendan Rodgers’ first-choice XI, it would have been easy for the trio to lose interest.
Leicester’s title-winning veterans like Wes Morgan are still driving the current team forwards
Two of them — Fuchs, 33, and Morgan, 36 — are out of contract at the end of the season.
If everyone is fit, all three players will probably return to the bench at Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg on Tuesday as the Foxes try to reach their first major Wembley final for 20 years. The first leg ended 1-1.
There is no chance, however, that their standards will drop. Along with the two title-winners who remain regulars, Kasper Schmeichel and Jamie Vardy, they are the perfect example for developing stars like James Maddison, Ben Chilwell and Harvey Barnes to follow. Their tough, single-minded attitude keeps everyone on their toes.
Indeed, when Chilwell and midfielder Hamza Choudhury were left out of the squad for the recent defeat at Burnley as they had missed a training session during the week, they had to answer to the senior professionals, not just Rodgers.
Christian Fuchs and Morgan are out of contract in June but played key roles at Brentford
Marc Albrighton is another 2016 Premier League winner who now finds himself on the fringes
‘We’ve got a few players who were part of that title-winning squad and we know that in every game we need to be at our best,’ said Albrighton. ‘In the season we won the league, we were.
‘We went into each game confident and feeling like we could beat anyone. We need to have that mentality this season.
‘When we won the league we didn’t do too well in the cup competitions but we have a different group of players now.
‘The squad is a lot younger and more inexperienced, but these kinds of seasons are what you play the game for. These young lads are so lucky to be at such a great club with such a great manager and coaching staff.
‘They can learn plenty and it will stand them in good stead for the rest of their careers.’
Albrighton, Fuchs and Morgan all played key roles in a tricky game at Brentford, where an early strike from Kelechi Iheanacho (below) was enough to send Leicester into round five.
Leicester however qualified for the fifth round of the FA Cup thanks to Kelechi Iheanacho
Brendan Rodgers now hopes that he will have Jamie Vardy (pictured) fit for Aston Villa
With the Bees chasing promotion to the top flight and Leicester approaching a semi-final, it was inevitable that both Rodgers and Bees boss Thomas Frank would rotate heavily.
Even though Iheanacho grabbed the winner, Rodgers will be desperate for Vardy to recover from a glute injury in time for the Villa game.
Brentford have a similarly important game on Tuesday, against promotion rivals Nottingham Forest, as they try to crown their final season at Griffin Park by claiming a place in the Premier League. Their prolific ‘BMW’ forward line — Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins — are set to return.