Antonio Conte has hailed Tottenham defender Eric Dier upon his return to the England squad, while Brendan Rodgers has defended his side’s output despite their poor form as the pair prepare to meet in the Premier League this weekend.
Following an unexpected week off following the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II, Spurs and the Foxes will play their last game before the international break at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with the pair both having seen contrasting starts to the campaign.
Spurs sit in the upper echelons of the table, helped by a superb campaign from Dier, who has ended a two-year exodus from the national fold just in time for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, earning warm words from his club coach.
“I’m really pleased because when the national team call my players, I am really proud because it means we are working very well,” Conte said.
“We are trying to help the players to go with the national team. In this case with Eric, it was a really good achievement for him.
“I can only tell him that it is to be a starting point. He has to get the possibility of getting to the World Cup, especially with this month and a half we have ahead of the World Cup.”
Rodgers’ Leicester meanwhile are in the bottom three, with little to shout about, and the boss admits they face their off-field challenges to boost morale.
“It’s difficult in terms of results,” he added. “We’ve tried to keep the environment light.
“We have been in a situation we haven’t been in before where performances are not to the level we want. We have to be brave, sometimes you can lose that aggression but you can’t afford to do that.
“Everyone is very supportive and working very hard. There’s no other way. You want to see grit and passion in the workplace and that’s something we have in abundance.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tottenham – Son Heung-min
If any Spurs player is due a break this term, it is Harry Kane’s regular partner in crime. No player has had more shots without scoring in the Premier League this season than the forward, with last season’s Golden Boot winner having 17 attempts without success so far.
Leicester – Jamie Vardy
The former England international has played 276 Premier League games for the Foxes, the joint-most for the club along with Kasper Schmeichel. His next appearance for the club will see become the third player to be the outright leader for each of appearances, goals and assists at a single Premier League club, along with Troy Deeney (Watford) and Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Tottenham have won seven of their last nine Premier League games against Leicester (L2), including each of the last three – they’ve never won four consecutive league games against the Foxes before.
– Leicester have lost four of their last five Premier League away games against Spurs (W1), conceding at least three goals in each defeat.
– Since Leicester’s return to the Premier League in 2014, only Arsenal vs Liverpool (64) has seen more goals in the Premier League than Leicester against Tottenham (63).
– Tottenham have won each of their last six Premier League home games, their longest such run at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. They last had a longer home winning run between November 2016 and May 2017 at White Hart Lane (14 games).
– Leicester remain bottom of the table with just one point from their six games so far this season – the last time they failed to win any of their first seven league games in a top-flight campaign was 1983-84, when they ended up finishing 15th.