Brendan Rodgers insists he is not a “magician” as he battles to keep thrifty Leicester challenging for silverware against free-spending Newcastle on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports.
The Foxes travel to St James’ Park in the Carabao Cup quarter-final with Rodgers admitting his job is becoming trickier as rival teams continuously outspend them.
He is hopeful of new recruits this month after Wout Faes was the only outfield signing in the summer – a direct replacement for the £70m departure of Wesley Fofana to Chelsea.
Newcastle’s Saudi-led takeover in 2021 changed the dynamic in the Premier League and Rodgers feels the new money in the top flight has made it harder to compete.
“I think I’m a decent coach, but I’m not a magician,” he said. “If you look at our net spend since I’ve been here, it’s about £10m, in three-and-half years.
“Compare that to our competitors, like Aston Villa, West Ham, Newcastle. It’s over £250m. It’s a big difference.
“If you look at Newcastle’s net spend in the last year, along with the fantastic coaching of Eddie [Howe]plus the infrastructure from where they were to where they are now, they’re looking to build and create something.
“They’ll do it wisely and sensibly, but they have the resources to do that. So that’s the modern game and there’s no doubt they join that bracket.
“Look at some of the other teams – Aston Villa’s net spend over the last few years, West Ham too. It’s becoming a real challenge.”
Of the last 18 winners of the League Cup only Swansea and Birmingham have come from outside the so-called ‘big six’ while just the Foxes and Wigan have broken that stranglehold in the FA Cup in the last 15 years.
He added: “You have to look at the reality of it. It’s so important for every club that supporters can dream, but there is a reality to it and a reason why the trophies have been won in the main by the biggest clubs with the biggest resources, that’s natural.
“It does not stop us trying any harder or working any harder and we’ve come from the two games at Wembley [FA Cup and Community Shield] we can take a trophy home.
“That will never cease while I’m here because that’s what we want to do and I know the players are very keen to do it as well.”
Howe intent on seizing opportunity
Eddie Howe has warned Newcastle they will need to be more clinical if they are to soothe their FA Cup disappointment by booking a place in the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
A 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions drew to an ignominious close against Sheffield Wednesday as chances aplenty went begging, and head coach Howe knows that cannot continue if the club is to prosper this season – Newcastle’s domestic silverware drought dates back almost 68 years.
The 45-year-old, who guided his side to a 3-0 league win over Brendan Rodgers’ side at the King Power Stadium over the festive period, said: “This game will be different. Brendan is a very good tactician. I thought that game, the scoreline, slightly flattered us.
“It certainly wasn’t an easy game and we understand the quality they have. We will need to be at our best to get through.
“Psychologically, it would be a great thing for us to get through to a two-legged semi-final. We want to experience that, but we have a very different tough opponent in our way.
“We have to be more clinical. If we look back at the Leeds game and Saturday, there were too many chances not taken.”
- Jan 10: Newcastle v Leicesterkick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
- Jan 10: Manchester United vs Charltonkick off 8pm
- Jan 11: Southampton vs Manchester Citykick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
- Jan 11: Nottingham Forest v Wolveskick-off 7.45pm