Rodgers: ‘Napoli one of Europa League favourites’

Brendan Rodgers

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers believes Napoli are ‘one of the favourites’ to win the Europa League. ‘They’re full of world-class players. It’s such an exciting game.’

The group phase of the competition kicks off on Thursday at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT) at the King Power Stadium.

During his press conference, Rodgers was full of praise for the Partenopei, who have started the Serie A season with three wins out of three, including Saturday’s 2-1 result against Juventus.

“I certainly believe they are a Champions League club,” said Rodgers.

“They arrive in the Europa League as one of the favourites. They’re full of world-class players. It’s such an exciting game.”

This is a different Napoli to the one seen last season, with Luciano Spalletti taking over from Gennaro Gattuso.

“In a lot of the games we’ve watched they’ve played 4-3-3. He’s a fantastic manager and a very experienced manager. We have to prepare for both 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3, but I feel he will play 4-3-3.”

Leicester are missing Wesley Fofana and Justin James for this match, but welcome back Janik Vestergaard, Jonny Evans, Ryan Bertrand and Ricardo Pereira.

Rodgers hints he will rotate the squad, although not quite as much as last season.

“I felt last season we had to prioritise and we suffered in this competition. There’s more experience now in the squad. There’s a freshness in the squad, and we have that depth. I’m looking forward to the game, with the supporters at home. It should be a great noise.”

“Our idea last year was to finish top of the group and we did that. I’ll always feel confident we can progress, whichever team we pick. We’ve brought in some players to help us with that depth and hopefully we’ll see that between now and Christmas. Whichever team I put out, I hope to get a positive result.

“The last two seasons have been great, but it’s a new season and a new hunger. This competition is very important and we want to go a long way in it.”

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