Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers insisted one his goalscorers in their 2-0 victory over AEK Athens must “word harder” as he continues to develop with the Foxes.
The three points ensured Leicester will enter Monday’s draw for the knockout stages of the Europa League as a seeded team after topping the group.
Speaking to BT Sport following the win, Rodgers said: “I thought in the first half, in particular, we were very good. We wanted to start strong and aggressive.
“I thought we were excellent. We worked our shape really well, we had some great moments in the game. Second half we went a little bit passive midway through but everything I asked of the players they did.”
Regarding the impressive performances of academy graduates Barnes and Luke Thomas, Rodgers said: “Two young boys through the academy. They have so much ability. We were trying to encourage them to run without the ball.
FULL MATCH REPORT: Early double strike sees Leicester progress as Europa group winners
“Harvey Barnes was great tonight, getting in behind and Luke did very well tonight too.”
Cengiz Under has begun to adapt to life with Leicester, but Rodgers implored the Turkish international to “work harder” to become an even more integral part of his team.
“He is adapting to how we play,” added the manager. “He has to work harder but it’s something that he’s working very hard on and he’s got great power and a great left foot. It was a great finish and great technique.”
On Leicester’s season so far, Rodger concluded: “We embraced all the games we’ve had. We have seen this as an opportunity to qualify as top but also for experience.
“A lot of our players haven’t played in Europe, so it’s been a great opportunity for us to use the squad. The level has been really good and the competition so far has been really good.
“With all the injuries that we’ve had, fourth place in the Premier League and qualifying for Europe, that’s a huge testament to the players to how they’ve worked and adapted.”
Barnes happy despite necessary rotation
Leicester goalscorer Barnes also spoke to the press, telling BT Sport: “The tournament is new to us, we know it will be a tough challenge but we are really happy to finish top of the group.
“It was important to be top, that was a big objective for us. I thought we played very well tonight and we just keep scoring goals for the team.
“It’s something I want to do [score goals]. I’ve scored six. It’s important not just to play well in games but also to get goals.
“We’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been hard playing Thursday and the weekend, that’s something for us to adapt to but I think we have coped well. There will be a bit of rotation to keep everyone fresh but we’re glad to go through.”
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