'Could be' - Maresca's Leicester admission as Leeds United close with 'bad feeling' and new blow

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Boss Enzo Maresca has made a Leicester City ‘pressure’ admission upon Leeds United closing in with a Foxes quip as injuries mount.

Former runway leaders Leicester now sit just three points clear at the top of the Championship following three-straight defeats, including a 3-1 reverse in last weekend’s top-of-the-table clash against Leeds at Elland Road. Victory for Daniel Farke’s side allowed them to close the gap down to six points and United then ultimately made further inroads on Saturday through their 1-1 draw at Huddersfield Town.

Leeds dropped out of the division’s automatic promotion places through the draw as Ipswich Town moved second with a 2-0 win at Plymouth Argyle but it proved a point gained on Leicester who suffered a third-straight loss in a 2-1 defeat at home to QPR.

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Pressed on whether the pressure was now getting to his players, Maresca insisted that he thought not, but couldn’t be sure.

PROBLEMS: For Leicester City and Enzo Maresca, above. Photo by John Walton/PA Wire.PROBLEMS: For Leicester City and Enzo Maresca, above. Photo by John Walton/PA Wire.
PROBLEMS: For Leicester City and Enzo Maresca, above. Photo by John Walton/PA Wire.

"I don’t think so (the pressure is getting to the players),” said Maresca, as quoted by the Leicester Mercury. "But it could be. Because it’s a long time that we have been there and everyone is trying to chase us, so it could be.

“But we are not in a moment where we can think about that. We just need to try to win games. We have 11 games to go and we need to try to finish in the best way we can. We said many times that we are top and when the rest play and they win, you feel the duty that you need to win. If they drop points, you have the feeling that you need to win to make the gap bigger. Since we started, we have had this situation.”

Reflecting on Saturday’s defeat, Maresca admitted: “It’s a bad feeling. In the last three games, we dominated and created chances, but in this sport, the most important thing is to score goals, and in this moment, we struggle. The only thing I can say is that it’s not easy to attack a team that sits back. Even with that, we arrived close and we lacked quality in the last third in terms of the last pass or shot.”

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Looking ahead to Tuesday night’s return to action at Sunderland, former midfielder Maresca even quipped that mounting injuries might lead to him naming himself in the side.

Ricardo Pereira suffered a hamstring injury in training ahead of the weekend's visit of QPR in which Dennis Praet was then forced of in the 15th minute, also with a hamstring injury. Wilfred Ndidi also remains out.

“Ricardo is injured and he will be out until after the international break,” said Maresca. “Dennis is injured again. I was a midfielder. Probably on Tuesday (against Sunderland) I can play half an hour, 45 minutes, because in this moment we have just Harry Winks, Kiernan (Dewsbury-Hall), and Yunus (Akgun).”