Saturday, 23 July 2011

Foxes beaten by Spanish giants

Leicester were a team beaten by the better side when they took on their final opponents of this pre-season's overseas tour.

Liquid football: Yuki Abe battles to win the ball against Valencia
That is not to say that the Foxes made it easy for Valencia, more that the Spanish opposition were a superior outfit with their usual fluid, passing movement impressing the few who made the trip from the East Midlands to the SV Wernberg Stadium in southern Austria.

The Foxes' put in a valiant defensive performance but Valencia made Leicester chase the ball and made their possession count when before half an hour was played, Brazilian international Jonas finishing well after he was put-in by Aritz Aduriz. The Foxes had their opportunities - Paul Konchesky had a lively game on the wing as he once again impressed - but were not able to make it count, Steve Howard notably unable to make a rare breakaway count as he fired wide in the closing minutes.

Whilst manager Sven Goran Eriksson will be disappointed to see this pre-season's unblemished record blotted, he will be cheered by a resilient performance from his side that saw the better team only win by a single goal. Another day could have seen the Foxes grab an equaliser, but on this occasion their efforts were stifled by a team that held the ball well and denied Leicester the chance to create opportunities using their own brand of passing football.

Instead, the best chances came from long-ball clearances: if this strategy is to pay off against good teams in the Championship, Steve Howard could swiftly become a key man in Eriksson's play-off ambitions. But, if Eriksson is right in believing his team to be the best in the league, that will not be an issue he will have to face. A Tuesday night away in Doncaster presents very different challenges to those found on a misty evening in Austria, against one of Spain and Europe's top sides.

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