Brendan Rodgers will "200 per cent" be in charge of Leicester City next season despite his side missing out on Champions League qualification with defeat to Tottenham.

The Foxes started the final round of Premier League games in fifth and would have finished above fourth-placed Chelsea – beaten 2-1 by Aston Villa on Sunday - had they defeated Spurs.

But Leicester failed to preserve a 2-1 lead given to them by a couple of Jamie Vardy penalties, either side of Harry Kane's strike, as they lost 4-2 at the King Power Stadium.

Kasper Schmeichel punched a corner into his own net and substitute Gareth Bale added a couple of late goals to earn Tottenham a comeback win that saw them finish seventh.

Rodgers, who guided Leicester to their first FA Cup triumph with victory over Chelsea in last week's final, has been linked with a move away ahead of next season.

However, the ex-Celtic boss intends to stay on at Leicester. Asked if he was willing to allay supporters' fears amid links with Tottenham, Rodgers told talkSPORT: "200 per cent I can... I love it here."

Rodgers added at his post-match news conference: "The fans need have no worries about myself, I love it here, even more so that we've just missed out. 

"That motivates me even more to be here to push the club even closer to that level. We'll plan and get ready."

Leicester lost just six of their first 25 Premier League games of 2020-21, compared to six losses in their last 13 to see out the campaign.

They ended more days (242) in the top four than any other Premier League side this term, yet they have to settle for a place in the Europa League again next season.

Rodgers replaced Claude Puel as Leicester boss in February 2019 with the club 11th in the league and has since guided them to successive fifth-placed finishes in his first two full seasons in charge. 

And while the 48-year-old is disappointed to have missed out on the Champions League again, he is pleased with the progress made in his time at the helm.

"It's hugely disappointing for us to miss out," he told BBC Sport. "We fought so hard all season. You're judged after 38 games and unfortunately we couldn't quite make it.

"I have nothing but pride and admiration for the players. They've constantly had things go against them with injuries.

"When we started work together we were mid-table and just over two years later we're challenging the elite and won the FA Cup for the first time in our history.

"We're on the right path without the resources [of other teams]. I have nothing but pride. The ownership have given me amazing support. 

"The players have given me their heart and souls every day. I'm so disappointed for them we couldn't get over the line."

Leicester finished the campaign as the joint-third highest scorers in the league with 68 goals, but Rodgers is looking to add to his attacking options during the close-season.

"We would like to strengthen the top end of the field – we need more of a goal threat," he said at his post-match news conference.

"We also need a little more physicality in the team and need more players with a winning feeling to add to the ground of talented players we have."

Harry Kane's reported desire to leave Tottenham has created a race for his signature.

A lack of silverware is believed to be behind Kane's alleged urge to move on, with Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea the leading suitors.

In the post-COVID world where club finances have been hit hard, some clubs are getting creative.

 

TOP STORY - CHELSEA'S PLAYER-PLUS-CASH SWAP DEAL

Chelsea are launching a player-plus-cash swap deal to land Kane from Tottenham involving goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and forward Tammy Abraham, claims ESPN.

Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris is expected to leave the club, hence the lure of Kepa who has been back-up to Edouard Mendy, while Abraham, who is not a regular starter for the Blues, could help to fill the void left by Kane.

Kane is contracted with Tottenham for another three seasons and Spurs are believed to want a transfer fee of £150 million, so the addition of players would drop that figure down to an affordable level.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Guardian reports that Sergio Aguero has agreed to a two-year deal with Barcelona, with his departure from Manchester City this off-season already confirmed.

- Arsenal's Sead Kolasinac will leave the Gunners, with Schalke 04 and Lazio circling for the Bosnian's signature, reports Football London.

- Fernandinho was set to exit Manchester City, but The Times claims he will renew with the club on a one-year deal.

- The manager merry-go-round is in full swing, with The Mirror claiming that Wolves are looking at ex-Roma boss Paulo Fonseca, while The Sun reports that Tottenham will try to convince Brendan Rodgers to join the club if Leicester City fail to qualify for next season's Champions League.

Leicester City captain Wes Morgan has announced his retirement from football.

Morgan, who skippered Leicester to their astonishing maiden Premier League title in 2015-16, will hang up his boots after the Foxes' closing game of the season at home to Tottenham on Sunday.

Christian Fuchs, another of the heroes of Leicester's title win, will also leave the King Power Stadium when his contract expires next month.

"In terms of what Wes has given me since I’ve been here, it’s been immeasurable really," said manager Brendan Rodgers, who sent on Morgan to close out Leicester's FA Cup triumph last weekend.

"I always knew it was going to be important for my senior players and, in particular, my captain to be on side in terms of the vision of how we wanted to go forward.

"He's provided me with fantastic support. On the pitch, his career was obviously coming to an end, but he still played a very important role for me, even though he wasn't playing every single week. He has a warrior sprit."

The 37-year-old defender has played more than 750 games in his professional career, with 324 appearances - and 14 goals - coming in Leicester colours, but will forever be associated with one incredible campaign.

"This group came together to create something that I'm not sure will ever happen again, a team like Leicester, at that time, winning the Premier League against all odds," Morgan told Leicester's official website.

"It's something that doesn’t really happen but we made it happen. It was a very, very special moment for everybody involved.

"To win the Premier League, it was amazing and something you can never talk enough about."

Fuchs was an invaluable part of that triumph, having joined on a free transfer after a spell with Schalke, and went on to play 152 games for the club.

"I came to a club where you'd probably assume, for the next couple of years, you'll be fighting relegation, maybe eventually playing in mid-table if the team improved," he told lcfc.com.

"But it went completely upside down and I'm very, very happy with that choice to join Leicester City.

"It was very unexpected, but we've played at a very high level, always with the desire of the owners to improve the club, trying to get better every year we were working together.

"I'm looking back without any regrets, looking back very proud, and I have a big smile on my face. It has definitely been the best six years of my career."

Morgan and Fuchs then helped Leicester to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Rodgers' side can return to Europe's elite competition next season if they manage to better either Chelsea or Liverpool's results on Sunday.

Thomas Tuchel's team are third, a point better off than Leicester in fifth, and travel to Aston Villa. Liverpool, who are fourth on goal difference, host Crystal Palace.

Thomas Tuchel railed against VAR after Chelsea claimed a crucial win in their pursuit of Champions League football.

The Blues leapfrogged Leicester City into third place in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory that means they remain in control of their top-four destiny ahead of the final game of the season.

But they were made to work for their win – not only by the Foxes but also by the officials, according to Tuchel.

The German was aggrieved at the failure to award a penalty when Timo Werner was tripped by Youri Tielemans in the first half, a decision he felt was in keeping with a recent theme.

He told Sky Sports: "It's a clear penalty. Honestly, VAR decisions are horrible against us and it's the third time in a row.

"We had a goal against Arsenal denied with a handball, we have a goal against Leicester in the cup [disallowed], and then today it's a penalty but it's a foul against us.

"This has to stop, of course. But we were not worried at half-time, we just said let's do it again and force it."

With the sides facing off just three days on from their FA Cup final meeting, it was perhaps inevitable that tempers would flare.

And Tuchel was unimpressed with Leicester's contributions to a touchline spat involving both sets of players that kicked off as the match reached its conclusion.

He said: "It's not so easy to lose in difficult games. We had to swallow it, we showed respect in the cup final. It got a bit heated up but it's like this.

"I didn't say that, I said it's hard to lose in big matches."

Chelsea were without Kai Havertz on Wednesday and also lost the influential N'Golo Kante to injury just before half-time.

Asked about the pair's prognosis, Tuchel replied: "I don't know yet, we will check them tomorrow. I have a good feeling with N'Golo, he said he felt something and didn't want to go into the risk of a muscle injury so I hope for Sunday. With Kai, the same."

Brendan Rodgers also aired his grievances with the referee after the game, suggesting Wesley Fofana was unfortunate to concede a penalty for a trip on Werner in the second half.

He said: "We're obviously disappointed with the goals, we conceded a needless corner and then didn't pick them up well enough.

"And the penalty I think is very, very, very, very harsh, but it's one that Wesley will learn from.

"He's so good in so many ways but you've just got to be patient in that one, and Luke as well.

"But they're 19 and 20 years of age the two boys, they've been absolutely amazing, and tonight will be really good learning for them."

Defeat for the newly crowned FA Cup winners means they are likely reliant on a Liverpool slip-up to secure their place in the Champions League next season.

But Rodgers insists the disappointment of missing out would be tempered by the fact that his players have achieved so much already this term.

He added: "It'd be really disappointing but I think our story and your story is different.

"Our story is the players have been fantastic in terms of their consistency and if we just fall short after 38 games then the team with the eighth-biggest budget fighting against the level we've been fighting at means we've fought really hard and just missed out.

"However, there are still points to play for, we just need to win our game at the weekend and see where we are."

Jamie Vardy is looking to add to his growing medal collection with Leicester City after helping the Foxes to win their first FA Cup.

Leicester, who won the Premier League with Vardy in the side in 2015-16, finally got their hands on the cup with a 1-0 win over Chelsea on Saturday.

Youri Tielemans scored the sole goal for Brendan Rodgers' team at Wembley, with a late own goal from Wes Morgan disallowed following a VAR review.

Vardy has now played in every round in the competition including the preliminary stages, having started his career in non-league football, but had a quiet final.

Neither of the striker's two shots under the arch hit the target, while he lost possession with five of his 14 touches.

It mattered not, though, as Leicester claimed the FA Cup after four previous final defeats, and that encouraged Vardy to set his sights higher still.

"It's a brilliant feeling, a really brilliant feeling. We've managed to do it," he said.

"But when the gaffer came in over two years ago, he said he wanted us to keep progressing, how he wanted us to play, he wanted us to be challenging for trophies.

"Now we've got one, we're going to be wanting some more. Now it's hard work, dedication and keep progressing as much as we can."

Leicester could cap a stunning stretch by qualifing for the Champions League if they beat Chelsea again at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Such an achievement would firmly establish manager Rodgers' side among the elite in English football.

"It was the big challenge I wanted to take coming to Leicester," Rodgers told a news conference.

"Having worked at incredible clubs like [Liverpool] and Celtic, could I go to a club outside of the top six and could we challenge and could we disrupt that hierarchy within the league?

"We'll always be a way behind in terms of financial perspective, but can we compete, can we perform and can we fight to challenge?

"And then obviously, on days like today, when you have the opportunity to create history, can you do that? Thankfully, we've been able to do it."

But Rodgers, repeatedly emphasising the financial gulf between Leicester and their opponents along with the rest of the 'big six', could offer few assurances on the futures of his cup final stars.

Tielemans, who now has nine goals in all competitions this season, would surely interest rivals, it was suggested.

Leicester fans did not have to look far for reminders of past departures on Saturday as N'Golo Kante started for Chelsea and Ben Chilwell almost turned the game on its head from the bench.

Kante had a relatively quiet outing, contesting just six duels, but Chilwell drew a superb save from Peter Schmeichel and forced the own goal that was then disallowed for his offside.

"I know the direction that we're going in and I know that Leicester in the future, I'm sure, will lose players," Rodgers said.

"We don't want to, it's not something we think about so much, but it's the nature of the game.

"But it's not to think about at this stage. You can see the happiness in the players, you can see the ambition we have, and of course you see the level that they play at.

"I don't think about it so much, I don't worry about it so much.

"I've got a really talented group of young guys that want to get better, and while I'm the coach and manager, until the very last day they're at the club, I'll always continue to do that."

Brendan Rodgers hailed Youri Tielemans' instant FA Cup classic after the midfielder spectacularly gave Leicester glory with a 1-0 final win over Chelsea at Wembley.

The Belgium international took aim from 25 yards in the 63rd minute to spark bedlam among the Leicester supporters in a 21,000 crowd at England's national stadium – the largest attendance for a sporting event in the UK since the coronavirus lockdown last March.

Leicester needed heroics from goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and VAR spared another of the favourites from their Premier League success five years ago.

Substitute Wes Morgan turned a ricocheted shot from Ben Chilwell into his own net to apparently herald extra time, but replays showed the ex-Leicester left-back was offside.

Delirious celebrations, with fans and players as one, greeted the full-time whistle and Tielemens was deservedly named man of the match

"Youri's goal was like an old school FA Cup-winning goal but also Kasper Schmeichel's save, those are the special moments you need in games," Rodgers told BBC Sport.

"Overall I thought we were the better team, we pressed the game really well, super-aggressive tactically. We were always a threat with the ball.

"Chelsea are an amazing team, that's why they're in a Champions League final but I thought we deserved it."

As was the case when Schmeichel, Morgan, Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton starred in Leicester's 2015-16 Premier League title win, this was a maiden triumph in the FA Cup.

"It's an amazing feeling, I wasn't aware before I came to Leicester that they'd never won the FA Cup, they'd lost in four finals previously," said the former Liverpool boss.

"So, to be able to give that to the supporters and the owners, so special.

"I'm so proud. It's a real collective effort at Leicester City - the board, the players, staff, supporters, an amazing day for the city. I'm just so proud for everyone."

Rodgers added: "I've been lucky enough to be in six finals [with Celtic] before and lucky enough to win them. Today being the seventh was truly special.

"It's the FA Cup and as a British coach it means so much to us. I'm so proud, but happier for everyone else."

Leicester City head coach Brendan Rodgers has hailed his side's "extremely important win" over Manchester United as they move a step closer to securing Champions League qualification.

Goals from Luke Thomas and Caglar Soyuncu earned the Foxes three crucial points in the race for the top four.

Leicester moved back into to third with the victory, up to 66 points after 36 games, sitting ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea on 64 points from 35 games.

West Ham and Liverpool are on 58 and 57 points from 35 and 34 games respectively, with Leicester's win creating an improbable deficit to overcome.

The Foxes crumbled at this stage in their Champions League bid last season so the magnitude of a rare win at Old Trafford was not lost on Rodgers

"It’s an extremely important win for us," Rodgers said. "It’s huge.

"We’re at 66 points now, which is what two of the sides that finished in there last season got.

"It’s a big step but there are still two games to go and the teams are still chasing us, so we still have work to do."

Leicester, who play Chelsea in the FA Cup final this weekend, have two tough remaining Premier League fixtures away to the Blues and at home to Tottenham.

"It’s the stage of the season where every win, every point is so important," Rodgers said.

"To be able to come to Old Trafford, it’s another victory for us against a top six club and, as you can see, it’ll be very, very important for us and where we finish this season."

On Saturday's FA Cup final, Rodgers added: "You can see the quality of their team, but we’ll be ready. We’ll look forward to it and we’ll fight to be the first team in Leicester City’s history to win the FA Cup."

Harvey Barnes has suffered a setback in his return from a knee injury, ruling the winger out for not just the remainder of the domestic season but also Euro 2020.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed on Wednesday that Barnes – who has not played since a 3-1 home loss to Arsenal on February 28 – underwent a second operation to clean out the knee.

The procedure means the Foxes will have to do without the 23-year-old for the Premier League run-in, as well as the FA Cup final against Chelsea on May 15.

Barnes scored nine goals and provided four assists in 25 league games for Leicester, who are on course to qualify for next season's Champions League with a top-four finish.

"We've had a slight setback with Harvey," Rodgers told the media.

"He's just gone in to have a second, minor operation, just to clear up some of the damage in his knee.

"It will probably rule him out for the rest of the season, but the plan is really to get him through this second little operation and then he'll be back for pre-season and fit and ready for next season."

 

Barnes impressively outperformed his expected goals (xG) number of 5.9 in league action in 2020-21, scoring nine times from 56 shots while also creating 26 chances for his team-mates.

His impressive form at club level led to a full international debut last October, as he came on as a late substitute in England's 3-0 friendly win over Wales.

However, any hope he had of forcing his way into Gareth Southgate's plans for Euro 2020 have been ended by further surgery, with Rodgers making clear the target is to be ready for the start of the 2021-22 season.

"It's a shame because he's been absolutely outstanding for us this season," Rodgers added. "Of course, we hoped he'd be back to play some part, but it’s not to be.

"The most important thing is getting his knee right and getting him ready for next season."

Leicester sit third in the table with five games remaining – they have a seven-point gap over fifth-placed West Ham after Monday's 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace, putting them on course to play in the Champions League for just the second time in their history.

Tottenham's Jose Mourinho gamble has not paid off and once again Spurs find themselves at a crossroads with their next managerial appointment.

Installing Mourinho as boss, even with his astounding list of achievements, appeared a slightly bemusing decision considering the complete contrast between his pragmatic style and the more high-intensity football played by predecessor Mauricio Pochettino.

There were plenty of signs of promise, not least the 6-1 hammering of Mourinho's former employers Manchester United at Old Trafford in the infancy of a Premier League campaign that offered early promise of a title tilt.

But a run to the EFL Cup final has not done enough to assuage Spurs' hierarchy, who have decided to pull the trigger after a slump in form has left Tottenham seventh in the table, out of the Europa League and in serious jeopardy of missing out on Champions League football again.

So, 17 months after his appointment, Mourinho has been sacked. Here, we look at the potential candidates to replace the Portuguese.

JULIAN NAGELSMANN

Is there a more in-demand young coach in world football than RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann right now? Hansi Flick dropped a huge bombshell on the world of football when he announced on Saturday that he intends to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season, with the German national team likely to be his next venture. Nagelsmann is thought to be Bayern's top target but reports in Germany suggest Leipzig will attempt to resist such a move, given it would considerably strengthen a rival. The 33-year-old has long-been linked to Tottenham, and the decision to wield the axe on Mourinho may have been prompted by Flick's announcement and the need to act fast to land a top target.

BRENDAN RODGERS

Another man whose name has been heavily linked with Tottenham is Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers, one of the most revered coaches in the Premier League. After falling agonisingly short of leading Liverpool to the Premier League title in the 2013-14 campaign, Rodgers departed Anfield in October 2015 and went on to enjoy an excellent period of success at Celtic. He has since turned Leicester into Champions League contenders over the past two seasons, playing an exciting brand of football at the same time. A potential stumbling block may be the fact his contract runs until 2025 but many believe Daniel Levy sees Rodgers as the man to lead Tottenham.

MASSIMILIANO ALLEGRI

Massimiliano Allegri is a name that crops up pretty much any time a vacancy becomes available at a big club across Europe, and it is not hard to see why. The Italian won five straight Serie A titles with Juventus, also lifting the Coppa Italia on four occasions during that golden period. With a top-flight title to his name during his time at Milan also on his resume, Allegri has proven to be a serial winner in the past. With the 53-year-old out of work, Allegri would provide a cheaper solution than others. His compatriot Maurizio Sarri, a Europa League winner with Chelsea, has also been touted – he too led Juventus to Serie A glory before being replaced by Andrea Pirlo ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

LEDLEY KING/RYAN MASON

It seems unlikely, but Spurs may decide to appoint from within. One option would be to instil former captain Ledley King, who made 268 Premier League appearances for Tottenham. Upon his retirement, King took up an ambassadorial role at the club and was appointed to Mourinho's coaching staff as first team assistant last August. Another who provides an internal option is Ryan Mason, who has been asked to take first-team training. The former England midfielder was forced to retire at the age of 26 after fracturing his skull and has been working in Tottenham's academy coaching set up.

GERRARD, BENITEZ AND OTHER OUTSIDERS

Even the best laid plans can go to waste and should luring Nagelsmann or Rodgers not come to fruition, several other interesting candidates have been mooted. Chief among them is Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who has cut his managerial teeth at Rangers and ended Celtic's dominance in Scotland by leading the club to Scottish Premiership glory this season, while a 2-0 win over their Old Firm rivals on Sunday kept them in the hunt for Scottish Cup glory. Rafael Benitez, the man who Gerrard lifted the Champions League under at Liverpool, is another interesting name said to be in the running. The Spaniard has plenty of experience in England having managed the Reds, Chelsea and Newcastle United and is out of work having left Chinese side Dalian Professional back in January. Fulham boss Scott Parker, a former Tottenham midfielder, and ex-Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe have also been suggested as potential alternatives.

Brendan Rodgers is hoping to write his name in Leicester City folklore by guiding them to FA Cup glory in next month's final against Chelsea.

Leicester edged out fellow Premier League side Southampton 1-0 at Wembley on Sunday through a Kelechi Iheanacho strike to reach their first final since 1969.

The Foxes were memorably crowned English champions in 2015-16 but never before have they lifted the FA Cup, finishing runners-up on four occasions.

Rodgers is looking to put that right as Leicester attempt to balance their cup exploits with finishing in the top four of the Premier League over the remainder of the season.

"We have the chance to create history. That is what this game is about, creating a memory," he told BBC Sport. 

"I have been made aware since I've been at Leicester how important this cup is for the supporters. When we arrived here that was the ambition. 

"We said we wanted to be competitive. From a football perspective we wanted to be able to compete and we've been able to do that. Now we have a trophy to genuinely go for. 

"When you fail it is an integral part of being successful. We missed out last year, so a great credit to the players this time."

The victory was Leicester's first at Wembley since the 2000 EFL Cup final, with Iheanacho once again the hero.

He scored for the third round running to take his tally in the competition to 14 goals in 19 appearances since his first-such outing in January 2016 – the most of any player over that period.

"I've been unlucky in the past few years but I need to keep working hard to go to the next level now," Iheanacho told BT Sport.

"We did it together. Without the whole team we wouldn't have won. It's not a one-man show. 

"I'm happy with the way we played together and stayed together at the end and I was at the right place at the right time. We are in the final and we're really happy.

"I think the FA Cup loves me and I love the FA Cup."

Iheanacho is the first Nigerian player to score 15 goals in all competitions in a season for a Premier League club since Odion Ighalo in 2015-16 for Watford.

Rodgers added: "His confidence levels are very high. Some of his set-up play was a bit loose today but his confidence was not affected by that. 

"Him and Jamie [Vardy] are a real threat but it is very much a team effort."

Southampton have been eliminated in eight of their last 10 FA Cup semi-final appearances, two of which have come in the last four seasons.

The Saints had kept a clean sheet in each of the previous four rounds and scored eight goals, but they failed to have a single shot on target this time around.

"It's hard to take because we haven't been the worst team," Ralph Hasenhuttl told BBC Sport. "We saw a not very good football game to be honest, with both teams a little nervous.

"That such a goal decides such a game is a pity for us. We had a good run and we wanted to get to the final to give our fans the chance of another final. 

"In the end, especially in the final third, we didn't have good moments. We couldn't get a shot on goal and this is not enough. We had the chance to get to the final. We'll try again next year."

England international James Maddison was one of three Leicester City stars dropped for the 3-2 Premier League defeat at West Ham on Sunday after breaching COVID-19 protocols.

Maddison, Hamza Choudhury and Ayoze Perez were absent for disciplinary reasons, with the Telegraph reporting the trio were left out by manager Brendan Rodgers for attending a party last weekend.

Speaking after the game, Rodgers said he was "bitterly disappointed" with their breach of the rules but said the players would be back in contention for the FA Cup semi-final against Southampton next weekend.

He said in a press conference: "My objective coming into Leicester City was to create a standard on and off the pitch. The standards fell way below what we'd expect and particularly at this time of the season, when we're challenging and fighting to finish off a really exciting season.

"That standard and the values we have as a club, they fell well below that. The guys that weren't involved in the squad today would have been, but as a consequence of their behaviour, they weren't.

"I could easily fine players and it's a drop in the ocean now and everything is right, but then the dynamic isn't quite right in the squad. I had to deal with that throughout the week, the players are bitterly disappointed.

"They are good boys, they knew what the consequence was, they wouldn't be involved in this game and now we draw a line under it. They will rejoin the squad, train next week and get ready for next weekend."

Leicester said in a statement: "The club has made its expectations around adherence to COVID-19 protocols abundantly clear to all its personnel.

"It is extremely disappointing, therefore, to learn of a breach that had the potential to undermine the efforts of club staff to protect the environments in which our teams train and play. Appropriate measures have been taken to prevent our team bubbles being compromised.

"We wholly expect our people to behave in a way that reflects the national effort and the sacrifices made by our communities to control the spread of the virus. Those involved have apologised for their poor judgement.

"Our response to the matter will be concluded internally."

David Moyes has urged West Ham to attack their dream of finishing in the Premier League top four, an achievement he feels would be his best as a manager.

West Ham are fourth in the Premier League ahead of hosting third-place Leicester City in a huge encounter on Sunday.

According to reports, Michail Antonio could miss the rest of the season and Moyes has confirmed the forward has a hamstring strain.

Declan Rice is also ruled out for West Ham, who face massive stakes in their eight-game run-in, which starts with the key clash against the Foxes.

Leicester were the last non 'big six' team to finish in the top four in 2016, ending an 11-year wait after Moyes was in charge of the previous team do it (Everton in 2005).

But Moyes thinks reaching the top four with West Ham would top that.

"I think it would be [even greater]," he said to Sky Sports.

"I'd been at Everton for three years by then so that would mean it would be a bigger achievement given we're already competing. 

"[European football] would not be something new for the club, but it would be new in the modern era of West Ham.

"I still feel the Premier League has an established order - there's a lot of teams knocking at the door to see if they can get in.

"A few of the big teams are worried about it because we see that in other situations and developments with talk of a new [breakaway] league.

"We are having a really good season at the moment, we are trying to stick with it and we are not hiding from the fact we believe we are outsiders. 

"But we also believe we have got a great opportunity so why do not we try to attack it full on?

"This time last year, we had to win games in order to stay in the Premier League so we're actually all feeling very light and not heavy.

"We'll try to take a few risks, try to go for it and see if we can win them. The aim is to try to finish around the top end.

"I think most people will not expect us to make Champions League, so I hope we can try to do something very similar to what Leicester did when they went on to win the league. 

"Nobody thought they could win it."

West Ham are winless in five home matches with Leicester (D2 L3), losing 2-1 last season.

Ahead of the game, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers backed striker Jamie Vardy to emerge from a goalscoring slump that has seen him score just once in 17 matches.

"The team has still been winning," Rodgers said. "What's most important for Jamie is you have to continue to work, make runs and sometimes you just need that bit of luck.

"He has created a number of opportunities for us. We know his threat and he can score any time.

"Jamie has just been very unfortunate, between keepers making saves and blocks on the line and some chances that, maybe, he would have put away.

"He is always going to be there. He is such a threat, his sharpness and speed, he is such an important player for us."

West Ham are looking to record their first Premier League double over Leicester since the 1999-00 season under Harry Redknapp.

The Hammers have the second-best home record in the Premier League (28 points), while Leicester have the second-best away record so far this term (34 points). 

League leaders Manchester City are the team at the top in both categories.

Benjamin Mendy was an unlikely goalscorer as Manchester City took another step towards the Premier League title with an authoritative 2-0 victory at Leicester City.

Pep Guardiola's side were dominant for long periods, Kevin De Bruyne hitting the crossbar, but had to wait until the 58th minute for left-back Mendy to find the breakthrough.

Both teams had seen goals ruled out for offside by that point, with Jamie Vardy frustrated in first-half stoppage time, although nothing approaching a repeat of Leicester's 5-2 early season triumph at the Etihad Stadium ever appeared to be on the cards.

A majestic De Bruyne throughball allowed substitute Raheem Sterling to tee up Gabriel Jesus for a game-sealing goal that put the leaders 17 points clear of Manchester United, albeit having played two games more than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men.

Manchester City captain Fernandinho drilled a 25-yard drive into the bottom corner but his fifth-minute effort was ruled out because Sergio Aguero jumped over the shot in an offside position.

De Bruyne went closer for the visitors, rattling the bar with a 23rd-minute free-kick, before Kasper Schmeichel saved with his boot to thwart former team-mate Riyad Mahrez and Jesus thrashed over before half-time.

Leicester's first shot belatedly arrived in the 48th minute, when Youri Tielemans treated Ederson to a routine stop.

Ruben Dias slid in to make a telling block from the Belgium midfielder moments later after Kelechi Iheanacho picked Fernandinho's pocket.

Mahrez stung Schmeichel's palms before the hour and Leicester failed to clear the danger – possession falling to Mendy, who stepped inside Marc Albrighton and slotted home right footed.

Sterling and Jesus threatened to undo De Bruyne's imperious work 16 minutes from time but held their nerve to seal victory as blue shirts darted back towards the goalmouth in vain.

Mahrez trudged off having come agonisingly close to scoring against his former employers, clipping a shot just wide after Jesus mugged a flagging Jonny Evans.

In-form Leicester City star Kelechi Iheanacho has signed a new three-year contract with the Foxes.

The Nigeria international, who joined from Manchester City in August 2017, has agreed to a deal that will run until at least the end of the 2023-24 season.

"I can't express how I'm feeling," Iheanacho, who has scored 12 goals this season, told the club's website. "I'm excited, I'm happy, I'm overwhelmed! It's a great moment and I'm happy that Leicester City gave me a new contract.

"It's been a great time here. It's not been easy, but there's a lot of people here that are good people, great people to work with. They are nice people and they make me feel comfortable and welcome since I came in.

"It's been really great being here. It's like a family. I'm happy being here and hopefully I can stay here many more years."

Iheanacho has hit a rich vein of form after previously struggling for Leicester, the 24-year-old having scored seven goals in his previous four appearances.

His five top-flight goals in March, including a hat-trick against Sheffield United, helped him to win the Premier League Player of the Month award, while he also struck the opener in Leicester's 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final win over Manchester United.

His minutes-per-goal rate last month (48) was bettered only by Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski (38.75) across Europe's top-five leagues.

In total, he has scored 32 goals in 117 games for Leicester, leaving manager Brendan Rodgers delighted with his recent performances and his overall attitude.

"Since he has come into the team he has just been fantastic," Rodgers told Sky Sports. "I am delighted for him because he is such a conscientious guy, such an honest guy, and as you can see now, a very talented player.

"All the guys love him. Now what you are starting to see is all his qualities. How he receives the ball. His strength. His finishing ability. His anticipation as a striker. You are seeing all of these things now because he is playing with confidence. I am delighted for him."

Ralph Hasenhuttl and Brendan Rodgers have backed Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp's stance on potentially withholding players from upcoming international fixtures.

Premier League players travelling to 'red list' countries during next week's break would be forced to quarantine for 10 days when they return to England, missing games for their clubs as a result.

On Wednesday, Klopp suggested he would not allow that to happen, saying: "The players are paid by the clubs so that means we have to be the first priority. You cannot make everyone happy in this period of our lives.

"I think everybody agrees that we cannot let the players go and come back and quarantine for 10 days in a hotel - that's not how we can do it."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer later agreed with his Reds counterpart, insisting it "didn't make sense" for his players to travel under those conditions.

And they have now been supported in that view by Southampton boss Hasenhuttl who, when asked whether he would also prevent players from leaving, replied: "Absolutely no question for me.

"I mean, you cannot think that I send any player anywhere when he has to quarantine when he's coming back. This is absolutely nonsense. Forget it. Definitely not.

"Because, I mean, there's business travel if you want…why should I send them there?

"Nobody can say that he's coming back at least two weeks out and cannot play for us so this is not possible. Definitely not."

Leicester manager Rodgers, meanwhile, hit out at football's governing bodies over a lack of leadership that has left clubs to make difficult decisions.

"I think the clubs are being told it is going to be an individual case for each club," he said.

"But I think in essence all the clubs will be looking at not wanting to send players, I'm pretty sure, into countries where there is going to be a risk of them coming back and not being able to play and have to go into quarantine in a hotel. 

"I don't think any club will want that for any of the players."

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