Brendan Rodgers says his Leicester team are “not even thinking about” about a sustained Premier League title challenge despite moving top for the first time since they were champions in 2015-16.
Sunday’s victory over Burnley gave Rodgers his 100th win as a Premier League manager in his 210th game – Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Kenny Dalglish and Kevin Keegan the only British managers to have reached the landmark in fewer matches.
“It’s only two games. After 10 games you start to get an idea of where the league is at,” Rodgers said.
“We’re not even thinking about that [a sustained challenge]. We’re looking to develop the team and the experiences of last season, both in the league and the cup, will really enrich us.
“Whatever way it finished last season we still had a fantastic season to finish where we did.
“The players have good motivation – they’ve scored seven goals in two games and it shows we’re ready to attack the season again.”
Leicester, who finished fifth last season, came from behind to maintain their 100% start against Burnley at the King Power Stadium.
Chris Wood opened the scoring for Sean Dyche’s under-strength side, firing into the bottom left corner after outmuscling home defender James Justin at the far post.
But the Foxes, who enjoyed the majority of possession, immediately responded with Harvey Barnes’ placed effort drawing them level.
Erik Pieters’ own goal put the hosts ahead after the break with Justin doubling their advantage.
Top-flight debutant Jimmy Dunne raised hopes of a Burnley recovery when he headed in Dwight McNeil’s left-wing delivery, but Dennis Praet’s superb 20-yard strike into the top-right corner put the gloss on Leicester’s win.
Barnes impresses for hosts
While Burnley’s determination and desire was admirable, in the end it proved no match for Leicester’s fluid attacking play and extra sharpness.
The home side controlled the ball throughout with Barnes and Belgian midfielder Praet coming to the fore on the left of midfield.
Whether it was going directly up against Burnley right-back Phil Bardsley or moving intelligently into infield positions, Barnes’ movement and pace was a key ingredient of Leicester’s attacking play.
His placed effort to equalise was a show of composure as Burnley defenders reacted to Castagne’s cut-back.
And he forced a wonderful save from Pope at the end of a teasing run in off the left wing that Bardsley could do little to prevent.
The England U21 international had more shots (five) than any other Leicester player but his final contribution of the evening was significant one in another way, as he skipped away from three defenders to pick out Praet who did the rest with a sublime effort.
“Harvey Barnes was outstanding tonight,” Rodgers added. “He keeps on getting into areas you want him to and is a big talent.”
Depleted Burnley fight to the end
Dyche has repeatedly talked about the need for Burnley to add to their squad since top-flight football returned in June and conceded that they would be “stretched to the limit” for this fixture.
And although he was disappointed by the outcome and the unfortunate manner in which they fell behind, Pieters inadvertently deflecting Timothy Castagne’s cross past Nick Pope, he said he “marvelled at the spirit” of his depleted team.
Already without five first-choice players and at the physical disadvantage of having not played last weekend, the Clarets’ task was made harder when midfielder Robbie Brady went off with a rib injury during the first half.
But there were plenty of positives, with Dyche’s side managing more efforts on goal than the hosts and threatening to set up a tense finale when Wood hit the post late on.
“We don’t go over easy and we were still creating chances at the end,” said Dyche, who also praised the performance of Dunne, at the heart of the Burnley defence.
The 22-year-old made eight clearances, which was more than any other player on the pitch and Dyche added: “It’s a tough position for a young player to learn the game but he’s done well. He stuck at it and picked up a goal as well.”
Burnley’s own goal misery – the stats
- Leicester have won their first two games of a Premier League campaign for the first time since their title-winning campaign of 2015-16, while this is the first time they will end the day top of the Premier League since the final day of that season.
- Burnley have lost consecutive Premier League games for the first time since January – prior to these two defeats, the Clarets had only lost one of their previous 15 in the competition (W8 D6).
- Leicester midfielder Harvey Barnes has been directly involved in five goals in his past three Premier League games against Burnley (two goals and three assists).
- James Justin scored his first league goal for Leicester, with this his first league goal in 41 appearances since netting for Luton against Bradford City in League One in November 2018.
- Jimmy Dunne is the first player from the Republic of Ireland to score on his Premier League debut since Wes Hoolahan in August 2011. Aged 22 years 337 days, Dunne is now also Burnley’s youngest debutant scorer in the competition.
- Burnley striker Chris Wood has netted four goals in seven Premier League appearances against former club Leicester – only against West Ham (6) has he scored more in the competition.
- Erik Pieters’ own goal was Burnley’s sixth in the Premier League since the start of the 2018-19 season, the most of any current team in the competition in this period.
Leicester host Arsenal in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday 23 September (19:45 BST) before returning to Premier League action at Manchester City on Sunday 27 September (16:30 BST).
Burnley are also in EFL Cup action at Millwall on Wednesday 23 September (19:00 BST) prior to welcoming Southampton to Turf Moor in the Premier League on Saturday 26 September (20:00 BST).
Player of the match
with an average of 8.26
Squad number15Player nameBarnes
Squad number27Player nameCastagne
Squad number26Player namePraet
Squad number8Player nameTielemans
Squad number9Player nameVardy
Squad number4Player nameSöyüncü
Squad number25Player nameWilfred Ndidi
Squad number2Player nameJustin
Squad number24Player nameMendy
Squad number10Player nameMaddison
Squad number1Player nameSchmeichel
Squad number17Player nameAyoze Pérez
Squad number11Player nameAlbrighton
Squad number5Player nameMorgan
Squad number9Player nameWood
Squad number34Player nameDunne
Squad number1Player namePope
Squad number11Player nameMcNeil
Squad number3Player nameTaylor
Squad number19Player nameRodriguez
Squad number28Player nameLong
Squad number26Player nameBardsley
Squad number18Player nameWestwood
Squad number8Player nameBrownhill
Squad number27Player nameVydra
Squad number23Player namePieters
Squad number12Player nameBrady
- 24MendyBooked at 25mins
- 17PérezSubstituted forMaddisonat 62′minutes
- 26PraetSubstituted forAlbrightonat 83′minutes
- 15BarnesSubstituted forMorganat 90+1′minutes
- 26BardsleyBooked at 90mins
- 12BradySubstituted forPietersat 40′minutes
- 19RodriguezBooked at 8minsSubstituted forVydraat 70′minutes
Match ends, Leicester City 4, Burnley 2.
Second Half ends, Leicester City 4, Burnley 2.
Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Jimmy Dunne.
Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Dwight McNeil (Burnley).
Substitution, Leicester City. Wes Morgan replaces Harvey Barnes.
Phil Bardsley (Burnley) is shown the yellow card.
Youri Tielemans (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Phil Bardsley (Burnley).
Attempt missed. Phil Bardsley (Burnley) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Josh Brownhill.
Attempt blocked. Matej Vydra (Burnley) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Chris Wood (Burnley) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Matej Vydra.
Attempt missed. Phil Bardsley (Burnley) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.
Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Çaglar Söyüncü.
Attempt blocked. Matej Vydra (Burnley) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Josh Brownhill.
Attempt missed. Josh Brownhill (Burnley) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.
Foul by James Justin (Leicester City).
Phil Bardsley (Burnley) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Jamie Vardy (Leicester City).
Jimmy Dunne (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
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