May 25, 2024

The Leicester City manager addresses the challenges of his first year in command at the King Power Stadium, as well as his expectations for the team now that it has returned to the top flight.
When Leicester City returns to the Premier League next season, their only goal must be to escape relegation.

Manager Enzo Maresca has already established his team’s goals for the next season, following Leeds’ surprise loss to QPR on Friday night, which confirmed City’s spot in the top division. And returning the team to its former glory days is not an option for the Italian.

City finished in the top half for five consecutive seasons before being relegated, during which time they won the FA Cup and advanced to the European semi-finals. Just only a couple of years earlier, they won the title.

However, Maresca has stated that those are only recollections, not the club’s reality. The goal will be to maintain their Premier League status, which may be difficult considering that they are expected to be penalized with a points reduction for a Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR) violation.

Maresca added the financial troubles, which resulted in drama in the January transfer window when a deal for Inter Milan’s Stefano Sensi fell through, and might still see City sell players in June as they seek to avoid a second breach of PSR, have been a painful aspect of the season. The most difficult component has been overcoming the squad’s and fans’ perceptions that City are superior than the Championship.

 

Enzo Maresca opens up over injury and how Foxes will cope - Leicester City  News

 

 

“You have to convince the players that this is a club that cannot survive in the Championship,” Maresca said on Friday, before City’s elevation was announced. “You have to win.” The January transfer window wasn’t easy. The financial troubles have not been easy.

“If you ask me after a year in this club, I’ll give you my view. Throughout its existence, this team has accomplished significant goals. So the people’s memories are of winning the Premier League and the FA Cup.

“So now you’re in the Championship, and the reality has been difficult for both the players and the fans.” In the moment, if we get promoted, people who remember the Premier League, the FA Cup, or the accomplishments of our team will be pleased, but the reality will be very different.

“If we are promoted next year, our goal is not to win the Premier League or the FA Cup. The goal must be to stay up and avoid relegation.

“A year later, too many people still remember what this team accomplished. I understand that the transition from that to relegation is not simple. It’s probably been the most challenging thing.”

Even as the Championship approaches its final week, the race to join City in the Premier League is far from over. Ipswich and Leeds are still battling for automatic promotion, with the Tractor Boys needing four points from their final two games. In the play-off battle, Norwich and West Brom are favourites to finish fifth and sixth, respectively, although Hull has a slim possibility of grabbing a position if any of the others fails.

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