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Rodgers lauds ‘terrific’ Leicester man who changed the game; hints at Harvey Barnes weakness

Brendan Rodgers hailed the impact of Leicester substitute Ayoze Perez, and explained why he hooked Harvey Barnes at half-time.

Leicester advanced to the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League after roaring back from a goal down to sink PSV Eindhoven. All eyes were on the second leg in the Netherlands after the first leg in Leicester finished goalless.

Eindhoven took a first-half lead when veteran goal machine Eran Zahavi punished a sloppy backwards pass from Youri Tielemans.

Rodgers rung the changes at half time and saw his side pull level in the 77th minute when James Maddison swept home following superb work from Ayoze Perez down the right.

And with just two minutes of normal time remaining, the Foxes broke Eindhoven hearts when Ricardo Pereira tucked home from a tight angle after Patson Daka had forced a smart stop.

Speaking in his post-match press conference (via LeicestershireLive), Rodgers said: “It’s a wonderful feeling.

“The players are so happy. It’s great for the supporters, and everyone connected with Leicester. Boys were fantastic second half.

“The first half was ponderous for us, and when you get to the quarter-finals, you don’t get a second chance.

“We needed to speed up our movement, and be more dynamic straight from the second half. And the guys did that. Pitch was difficult. Not as good as it looks. Belief was there. We scored two wonderful goals.”

On the impact made by second half substitute Ayoze Perez, Rodgers said: “I thought he was terrific.

“He has had a couple of wee niggles, but he has trained well. He’s a clever footballer and he combined well with Ricky [Pereira], and he was aggressive when he came on.”

Explaining why he hooked Harvey Barnes at half-time, Rodgers suggested the forward lacked the guile and cuteness he was seeking in the final third.

The Foxes boss continued: “Going 1-0 up, they sunk back, so there was no space for Harvey [Barnes], so we needed more cuteness in the final third, and those guys coming into the game were excellent. The subs have to make an impact.”


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