Leicester missing Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi, admits Brendan Rodgers

Sean Taylor, PA
·3-min read

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers admitted his side felt the absence of Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi as the Foxes slipped to defeat against Leeds.

However, Rodgers is confident of signing a midfielder before Monday night’s transfer deadline and addressing that lack of strength in depth in his squad.

Top scorer Vardy missed a second match as he recovers from hernia surgery, while Ndidi was absent after suffering a slight hamstring tear in midweek. Both players are set to be out for around another two weeks, during which time the Foxes could play another three Premier League matches, including hosting Liverpool at the King Power Stadium, and their FA Cup fifth-round tie against Brighton.

Jamie Vardy is recovering from hernia surgery
Jamie Vardy is recovering from hernia surgery (Rui Vieira/PA).

Against Leeds, Leicester lacked physicality, by Rodgers’ own admission, and the threat in behind the defence that Vardy offers.

They led through Harvey Barnes’ strike but an immediate reply from Stuart Dallas and second-half goals from Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison sealed a 3-1 victory for Leeds.

“I think we’ve been on a fantastic run and it was always going to come to an end at some point. We weren’t quite ourselves today, but you also have to give Leeds credit and they deserved to win,” said Rodgers.

“I think you could see that there were certain moments where we missed those two players (Vardy and Ndidi), they are quality for us. There were areas we needed more physicality, but we have won games without these two players.

“When they are not available we have to find other ways to cope with that and throughout the season we have done that and found ways to get results. Today, we could have defended better, we gave away poor goals and we didn’t take our chances.

“They will not be fit for Wednesday either at Fulham and I don’t have a particular game in mind to say when they will be fit.”

Rodgers, who on Sunday saw winger Demarai Gray join German club Bayer Leverkusen, was asked about the chances of a new arrival at the King Power Stadium, with Watford’s Nathaniel Chalobah the latest name linked.

He said: “I’m pretty optimistic we will get one over the line. I know Nathaniel from my time working with him at Chelsea, but I know lots of players and there are a number of players that we are looking at.”

Watford’s Nathaniel Chalobah has been linked with Leicester
Watford’s Nathaniel Chalobah has been linked with Leicester (Aaron Chown/PA).

Bamford set up two goals either side of getting his name on the scoresheet with a wonderful effort midway through the second half.

Leeds won the ball back in midfield and Raphinha put Bamford through on the left side of the area. He still had plenty to do but beat Kasper Schmeichel with a left-footed strike into the far top corner of the net.

“It was a beautiful goal and the shot went in a place where it is difficult to put it with such power. You can shoot hard or you can shoot to that spot, it was difficult to do both things,” said Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa, who was pleased after back-to-back Premier League wins.

“It was a very difficult game and I am happy. For about 10 minutes after the second goal we could not prevent them from creating chances but the third goal allowed us to see out the game relatively comfortably.

“The result is very important because of the quality of the rival. At this level we have to make a massive effort to step up and not make our opponents be superior to us.”