Leicester City have revealed an injury update as both James Maddison and Ben Chilwell will not play again this season, while Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder was left fuming after the Blades’ woeful display.
Speaking after Leicester’s 2-0 win against Sheffield United on Thursday, Brendan Rodgers confirmed the star duo will be out for the final two games of the season against Tottenham and Manchester United as the Foxes chase Champions League action.
Christian Fuchs will also be out for up to 14 weeks with a groin issue, as Rodgers revealed the latest Maddison and Chilwell injury update too.
“Christian will not be involved for the rest of the season, he could be 12-14 weeks out. James [Maddison] and Ben [Chilwell] won’t play for the rest of the season. Marc [Albrighton] is a doubt for the weekend but may play against Manchester United. We’ve obviously got a few injuries which is unfortunate for us,” Rodgers confirmed.
Maddison and Chilwell have both been linked with moves away this summer and the emergence of young Luke Thomas at left back, who had an assist on his Leicester debut, could pave the way for Chilwell to move on and Leicester to invest that cash elsewhere.
With Tottenham and Man United left to play, this Chilwell and Maddison injury update, plus having Ricardo Pereira, Marc Albrighton and Christian Fuchs out injured, is a blow for Leicester’s Champions League hopes.
But the win against Sheffield United means this is Leicester City’s second-highest finish in their Premier League history (we all know what the highest was!) and guarantees European action next season. Rodgers is delighted by that but wants to finish off the job and reach the Champions League.
“When we all sat down at the start of the season we sat down and said that we had a huge challenge, for Leicester City to get into Europe,” Rodgers said. “In my time here I felt that was what I wanted to achieve. To be able to do that in the first season, how we’ve worked and the performance level to guarantee that now, it is an absolutely phenomenal achievement as to what the players have done.
“Okay, we’ve lacked that bit of consistency which may have consolidated the Champions League a bit earlier for us but there’s only one real consistent team in the league and that’;s been Liverpool. For these boys to guarantee this position with a couple of games to go, I tip my hat to them. It’s an amazing achievement, however, there’s two games to go and we’ve achieved that goal. Can we go on now and achieve this barrier-breaking goal and get into the Champions League? It will be tough but you can see tonight that we are ready for a tough game and we are going to give everything to finish as high as we can.”
As for Sheffield United, let’s just say Chris Wilder was less than impressed as his team remain in the Europa League hunt with two games to go but were uncharacteristically well off the pace.
The Blades were second best throughout and if it wasn’t for goalkeeper Dean Henderson they would have lost by five or six. After wins against Tottenham, Wolves and Chelsea in recent weeks heading into this game, Wilder was at a loss to explain why his team played so badly.
“Not the result and not the performance, way off it from the first minute to the 94th minute. The goalkeeper has kept us in the game and every aspect of the game we were second best,” Wilder said. “We deservedly got beat and I’m delighted I’m walking out of this ground today only getting beat 2-0 because they could have been four or five if it wasn’t for the goalkeeper. Our play lacked thought, lacked care, lacked aggression, lack enthusiasm, lacked everything. Every part of the game that you need to do to have any chance of getting any sort of result.”
Dean Henderson played superbly for the Blades and ProSoccerTalk asked if that underlined his importance and if Wilder wants him to stay on loan from Man United next season.
“He’s the one positive from tonight. His performance was up there. It was excellent,” Wilder said. Of course, he’s been outstanding for us all season so why wouldn’t you want to keep him in the building for next year? But that isn’t my decision.”
Will this display sharpen Sheffield United up for games against Everton and Southampton to finish the season, and could any good come from this performance?
“Why does it have to take a really poor performance to sharpen you up as a professional footballer?” Wilder said. “Nothing. Nothing. I take nothing out of tonight. Why would I? Nothing.”
Will Wilder be dwelling on this for the next few days?
“Yeah, I’ll be dwelling on this, right the way through. I won’t forget this. I don’t just put my head on the pillow tonight and think ‘oh, I’m a bit tired I will go to sleep.’ Got to analyze it, do what I can in my powers, whether it is team selection, training, whatever I can do. Ultimately you’re in the hands of the players and if that’s the case it’s going to be a struggle for the last two games of the season if we think that’s going to be alright or acceptable.”
Wilder tells it how it is and the Blades were blunt at Leicester, but their European dream is still intact.