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Rodgers’s Premier League return starts with Watford defeat

Brendan Rodgers’s return to the Premier League with Leicester began with defeat at Watford © AFP / OLLY GREENWOOD

LONDON, United Kingdom, Mar 3Brendan Rodgers’s first match as Leicester boss ended in a dramatic defeat as Andre Gray scored in stoppage time to give Watford a 2-1 win at Vicarage Road.

Rodgers left Scottish champions Celtic to take charge of the Foxes on Tuesday after winning seven domestic trophies north of the border.

But the former Liverpool boss was given a tough welcome back to the Premier League when substitute Gray pounced on Troy Deeney’s fine through ball.

“It will take time to impose a lot of the ideas we want,” insisted Rodgers.

“There were a lot of good signs. I was pleased despite not getting the result,” he added.

The Hornets had taken an early lead when Deeney flicked home Gerard Deulofeu’s free-kick and looked set for all three points as Leicester laboured despite dominating possession.

“Based on possession and keeping the ball Leicester deserve it, but we were more potent especially in the first half,” said Deeney.

One incisive Youri Tielemans pass, though, undid the Watford defence and Jamie Vardy prodded home his 10th goal of the season 15 minutes from time.

“It looked like only one team would win the game,” Rodgers said.

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“When we had an opportunity it was a great pass from Youri and Jamie does what he does.

“You felt Watford were getting deeper and the opportunities were coming for us. We started to get into really good areas and the goal at the end is a case of managing the game,” he added.

Leicester even had a chance to take all three points when captain Wes Morgan headed wide.

Instead, they were hit by a sucker punch when Gray brilliantly controlled Deeney’s lofted pass and kept his cool to fire low past Kasper Schmeichel to spark contrasting reactions in the dugouts.

A delighted Javi Gracia saw his side move level on points with Wolves in seventh for what could be a Europa League place depending on who wins the FA Cup.

Leicester by contrast remain 11th, eight points further back, and with plenty of work to do if they are to match Rodgers’s ambition of a European place.

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