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Sport There's no hangover from last season, says Leicester's James Maddison

23:20  28 september  2020
23:20  28 september  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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a group of people playing a game of football: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

James Maddison insists Leicester’s spectacular victory over Manchester City proves they have shaken off the pain of missing out on Champions League football this season.

The Foxes were in the top four for nearly all of the 2019-20 campaign but their poor form post-lockdown saw them pipped by Manchester United and Chelsea, forcing them to settle for fifth place and Europa League football.

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Many Leicester fans feared a hangover this season but Brendan Rodgers’ men have responded with three straight victories – including the 5-2 triumph at the Etihad Stadium – to move to the top of the table ahead of Saturday’s meeting with West Ham.

Youri Tielemans standing next to a football ball: James Maddison and his Leicester City team-mates celebrate their 5-2 win at Manchester City © Provided by Daily Mail James Maddison and his Leicester City team-mates celebrate their 5-2 win at Manchester City

‘We answered those questions in the right way, by doing our talking on the pitch,’ said Maddison, who could make his first league start of the season this weekend after recovering from hip surgery.

‘There was a lot of noise about last season, but we’d have bitten your hand off for fifth. There were murmurs about a hangover, but we’ve put those to bed.

‘We’re so happy with the start. We would expect to beat West Brom and Burnley, but then we continued it against City.’

Maddison to make first Leicester start in three months against Arsenal

  Maddison to make first Leicester start in three months against Arsenal The playmaker has not been included in the starting XI for the Foxes since June 23 due to a hip problem that required surgery in the short break between the seasons. But Maddison appeared as a second-half substitute in each of Leicester's opening two Premier League matches and the 23-year-old will be part of a much-changed team at the King Power Stadium.

Maddison’s absence after lockdown, when he figured in only three of Leicester’s nine league games, was a key factor in their drop in form.

a group of men playing football on a field: Jamie Vardy congratulates Maddison after he scored the Foxes' fourth goal on Sunday © Provided by Daily Mail Jamie Vardy congratulates Maddison after he scored the Foxes' fourth goal on Sunday

As a result, Rodgers has been keen not to bring back the 23-year-old midfielder too quickly, introducing him as a substitute in all three league matches and starting him only once, in the Carabao Cup defeat by Arsenal last week.

Maddison’s superb goal at City, a 25-yard curling effort, suggests his top form is now within reach. He added: ‘I’m getting there, but I’m not quite there yet. It’s my first season without any minutes in pre-season and it’s made me realise how important it is.

When you don’t have that running in you, you realise the foundation you need isn’t there. When I played West Brom, I was blowing. But with 70 minutes against Arsenal and 20 minutes at City, I’m getting closer.’

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a football player on a field: Vardy claimed the match ball at the Eithad Stadium following his Premier League hat-trick © Provided by Daily Mail Vardy claimed the match ball at the Eithad Stadium following his Premier League hat-trick Read more

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MICAH RICHARDS: Some City stars gave up too easily in Leicester loss .
COLUMNIST: It's a long time since I left a stadium as frustrated as I did last Sunday. The manner of Manchester City's defeat to Leicester was so alarming that I was still stewing on it in midweek. I've got so much respect for City and for everyone there, from the manager to the players to the people behind the scenes who make things function on a daily basis. I'm never going to be a bitter ex-pro who shoots his mouth off and says things were better in my day. That's not me.At the beginning of the season, I tipped City for the title.

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