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Brendan Rodgers sets sights on "historical season"

Brendan Rodgers sets sights on
© Reuters
Third-placed Leicester are on course to qualify for Europe's top club competition for the second time.

Brendan Rodgers has his sights set on making this an "historical season" for Leicester by bringing Champions League football back to the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes competed in the Champions League for the first time in their history during the 2016-17 campaign, following their incredible Premier League title success.

They are on course to qualify for the competition again this season, despite taking only 12 points from their last 12 Premier League games. Heading into this weekend's fixtures third-placed Leicester still have an eight-point cushion to Manchester United in fifth.

For the first time, Rodgers talked openly of the prospect of Champions League football and he believes his team will need to win at least five of their remaining 10 Premier League matches if they are to finish in the top four.

"We have an opportunity now with 10 games to go to make it a historical season," said the Leicester manager, whose side host Aston Villa on Monday night.

"If we can qualify into the Champions League for only the second time in the club's history, you think of the great players and the work that has gone on over many years here to be able to do that, it would be incredible.

"But it's going to take a lot of hard work still, a lot of focus. But our aim was to have European football and we're in a great position to do that with just 10 games left.

"We are looking at least to win half of them, maybe more. That's our focus. It's something we are ready to embrace, we've put ourselves into great position, what's gone before is gone and we're in a brilliant position.

"If you assess the position we are in, we don't want to finish any lower. Naturally any team if you're in this position will want to finish in a Champions League position.

"We know what we need to do and we'll finish as strong as we possibly can. And if that can keep us up where we are that would signify an incredible season for us."

Rodgers is keen to manage in the Champions League again, having done so for two seasons during his time in charge of Celtic.

He said: "Ultimately it is the best club competition in European football so of course you want to be in. The challenge for me here was to take a club outside the top six into the top six, that's why I came."

Jamie Vardy is expected to return to the Leicester squad against Villa. The striker, who has scored 17 Premier League goals this season, has missed the last two matches with a calf injury but Rodgers is optimistic he will have his talisman back in contention.

While Vardy's return will come as an undoubted boost, Leicester may be dealt a blow by the absence of left-back Ben Chilwell as he is nursing a hamstring problem.

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CManchester CityMan City38275683325186
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd382111673442974
5Leicester CityLeicester382061268501866
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham381981162471565
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs381881268452362
9Leeds UnitedLeeds38185156254859
11Aston Villa38167155546955
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174662-1645
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38129173652-1645
14Crystal Palace38128184166-2544
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914154046-641
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom38511223576-4126
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3872292063-4323

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