Brendan Rodgers says his Leicester side need to be relaxed but focused heading into Thursday’s Europa Conference League semi-final second leg against Roma (Match Betting – Roma 11/10, Draw 9/4, Leicester 23/10).
The pair played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in last week’s opening leg at the King Power Stadium, the Giallorossi taking the lead through Lorenzo Pellegrini after 15 minutes, only for Gianluca Mancini’s second half own goal to level the scores.
It means the tie is perfectly poised heading into the return game at the Stadio Olimpico and with neither side in particularly good form, there are sure to be plenty of twists and turns in the battle for a place in the inaugural final of the competition on May 25 (To Qualify – Leicester 11/8, Roma 4/7).
Leicester have failed to win any of their last five, while Roma’s sole success in that time came in this competition as they thrashed Norwegian outfit Bodo/Glimt 4-0 in the quarter-finals.
After successive fifth-placed finishes in the Premier League and winning the FA Cup last season, the 2021-22 campaign has been a relatively frustrating one for the Foxes.
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However, Rodgers believes the experience of that Wembley success last May sets a precedent for how they need to approach their trip to the Eternal City.
“We’re playing now in a one-off game,” he said. “I know we have been able to do a good job against difficult teams and that has really helped us.
“Whenever semi-finals come, there’s always that tension around it. The idea is to keep the players relaxed, but focused on the game. That’s also what we have been trying to create here – a winning mentality.”
James Maddison and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall are both set to be fit for the game after missing Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Tottenham, while Jamie Vardy (6/4 Anytime Scorer) is also expected to lead the line.
Thursday’s other semi-final sees Marseille look to overcome a 3-2 deficit to Feyenoord at the Stade Velodrome (Match Betting – Marseille Evens, Draw 13/5, Feyenoord 11/5).
The French outfit are 7/4 to qualify for the final in Tirana, with De club aan de Maas 4/9 to make it through after Cyril Dessers’ brace helped them steal the spoils in last week’s pulsating clash at De Kuip.
Feyenoord controlled large swathes of the first leg but with things likely to be different in Provence, boss Arne Slot is confident they have the players to strike on the break should they need to.
“There will be times when Marseille are more in control, then we have to defend more than last week,” he said. “If we have to drop far back, we have the right players to strike on the counter-attack.”
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