Kasper Schmeichel relishing European action as Leicester travel to AEK Athens

By Nick Mashiter, PA
·2-min read

Kasper Schmeichel admits he has missed Leicester’s European adventures.

The Foxes travelled to Greece on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s Europa League Group G match at AEK Athens.

It is Leicester’s first European trip since April 2017 when they lost 1-0 at Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The Foxes opened their Europa League account with a 3-0 win over Zorya Luhansk last week and Schmeichel has been pining for more European action.

“When you have experiences like that (the Champions League) they are amazing but the flip side is you want more,” said the goalkeeper.

“It’s been a long road back to European football and we were hoping for the Champions League but you don’t always get what you want.

“We’re here in another amazing competition and these nights are different but they are what you work for. You hope one day soon we can get the fans back, that’s the reason we do it, to have the fans able to travel to Athens.

“We have to focus on the pitch and make sure we do it for everyone at home.”

Schmeichel also believes the Foxes can compete on all fronts but stopped short at comparing the current squad to the title winners of 2016.

He said: “What we achieved was very unique and was always going to be hard to replicate but you learn to believe and think ‘you never know’.

“You enter every competition wanting to go as far as you can. The main goal is to get out of the group stages. In terms of the squad, I have every confidence. We have some injuries but as soon as we get everyone fit, we have a great chance.”

Ricardo Pereira remains out with his Achilles injury, Caglar Soyuncu and Wilfred Ndidi (both groin) are sidelined along with Nampalys Mendy (thigh) and Islam Slimani is not in the club’s European squad.

AEK lost their opening game 3-0 in Braga last week and are fourth in the Greek Super League with boss Massimo Carrera insisting his players need to be selfless to ensure they can take something.

He said: “We have to stay focused and display the sentiment of self-sacrifice because we’re playing against a top team with qualities as individual players and a team.

“We have to play our own game which means to play the way we know. The ball is round so at the end, we’ll have to see what happens and why can’t we be the ones celebrating something positive?

“Playing without fans has an impact, we don’t like that because it gives us great strength to have the fans supporting us.

“It makes it a bit more difficult to adapt to the new circumstances. The players have to find the extra strength from within them.”