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‘Daka was excellent’ – Leicester City’s Rodgers praises Zambia star after full debut

08:50 WAT 06/12/2021
Patson Daka, Brendan Rodgers
The 23-year-old Chipolopolo played a crucial role in the visitors' opener but it was not enough to help the Foxes get a point at Villa Park

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has praised the performance of striker Patson Daka after he made his full debut in the 2-1 Premier League defeat against Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Zambia international was handed his first start in the top-flight since joining the Foxes from Red Bull Salzburg with Jamie Vardy and Nigeria striker Kelechi Iheanacho dropping to the bench.

It was Daka who set up Harvey Barnes for Leicester’s opener in the 14th minute but Villa responded to score courtesy of Ezri Konsa’s double in the 17th and 54th-minutes respectively and carry maximum points.

Before the game against Villa, Daka had featured in five league matches as a substitute and scored one goal in the 4-2 win against Manchester United at King Power Stadium.

Rodgers has now praised the Chipolopolo and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, who was also starting his first game, for putting up an excellent display despite going down.

“They did very well,” Rodgers told the club’s official website in reference to the performance of Daka and Kiernan.

“I thought Patson [Daka] led the line really well. It’s great pressure leading into the first goal. I thought he was excellent. His link-up play was good, pressing was good.

“Kiernan was excellent. He tired a little bit in the second half. We also stuck on a striker to try and help, but I thought he did very, very well. He looked a threat, neat and tidy with the ball. In the second half, he gave it away a couple of times, but I thought he did well.”

Meanwhile, Rodgers faulted the team’s latest defeat to poor defending insisting the team must improve their defensive record from set-pieces.

“On the back of the first half, we played ever so well, taken the lead in the game, but our issue at the moment – clearly – is set-pieces," Rodgers continued.

“That’s something that is zapping the confidence from the team. We’re just not doing our job in key moments of the game. It’s really costing us.

“It’s something we have to look at the structure of. We, like most defences, will defend part-zonal, part guys blocking. It’s just being more alert to danger and also doing your job. For the second goal, we highlighted that in the footage leading into the game, where Konsa goes – he’s mainly at the back post.

“We specifically assigned a player to pick him up and mark him, but it’s nowhere tight enough. He gets a free header and all of a sudden it’s the goal that wins the game for them. It’s about structure, it’s about analysing, but it’s also about doing your job on the field. When you do your job, you won’t concede.”

Nigeria midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and forward Ademola Lookman also featured in the game while Iheanacho was introduced in the 86th minute for Kiernan.

Daka will hope to keep his starting role when Leicester travel to face Napoli in their Europa League Group C fixture at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Thursday.