Brendan Rodgers: Experience will help Leicester in race for Champions League

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Nick Mashiter, PA
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Boss Brendan Rodgers believes Leicester’s experience will prove crucial as they close in on the Champions League.

The Foxes are third in the Premier League after Thursday’s 3-0 win over West Brom.

They host Crystal Palace on Monday and sit four points ahead of fifth-placed West Ham, who welcome fourth-placed Chelsea on Saturday.

Leicester are in the driving seat and Rodgers knows last season’s experience of missing out on the top four on the final day of the campaign is key.

He said: “It’s just experience, a lot of the players didn’t have the experience of being consistently up there last season. We have evolved over the course of the season.

“It doesn’t make it any easier, if we want to arrive where we want to we have to win games.

“But you can see the control and maturity in the team is improving all the time and we’re playing at a good level.”

Rodgers is also starting to see his key men return and James Maddison started against the Baggies for the first time since February after a hip problem, leaving the boss encouraged.

He said: “It’s great to have him out there and you can see his qualities. He hasn’t been in for a while so probably lost the ball more than he would normally do.

“He is one of a number of very talented players we have. It’s great for him to get that in his legs.”

Like Maddison, Wesley Fofana came off in the second half against the Baggies with the defender observing Ramadan.

The 20-year-old has excelled in his first season in the Premier League and Rodgers has been impressed while he has been fasting.

“He’s a young player in the middle of Ramadan so he’s obviously not eating during the day,” said the Leicester boss.

“I think it’s absolutely remarkable. If you think of his performance at the weekend in an FA Cup semi-final, when he hasn’t eaten all day, and then he had his first taste of food (later on).

“It was the same against West Brom, with the 8pm kick-off, he’s not eaten or drank and he can still perform to that level.

“It was just one where I thought I could get him off and he could get some food into him on the bench and just protect him a little bit.

“I work with lots of players who have similar devotion to their faith and I think, for a lot of the guys, it gives them strength.”