Leicester City vs Manchester United - Robert Huth urges Leicester to 'work harder as a team'

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2017 by PA

Leicester defender Robert Huth insists the champions must draw on their previous relegation battle to survive.

The Foxes have won just two of their last 14 league games and host a Manchester United side on Sunday who are unbeaten in their last 14 top flight outings.

Last season's shock title winners are yet to win this year or score a Premier League goal in 2017, and boss Claudio Ranieri admitted it was possible he could lose his job this term.

Huth was part of the squad which pulled off the great escape under Nigel Pearson, winning seven of their final nine games to stay up, and he believes they must rediscover that focus.

"The majority of the squad were here when we were at the bottom of the league. We do know how to deal with disappointment," said the centre-back, who joined Leicester from Stoke two years ago.

"When some people might think it's the worst thing in the world, it's up to us as professionals to think that we've been here before and we know what it takes.

"It's almost like we have to shut out everyone and get on with the job.

"The whole team, whoever plays, needs to get together and work a little harder and the ball will drop for us I'm sure.

"Week to week, we do the same stuff. It's not like we change anything to warrant a drop in form or performances. We just need to work harder as a team - that's what it comes down to."

United manager Jose Mourinho was sacked as Chelsea boss following his last visit to the King Power Stadium, a 2-1 defeat in December 2015, but Huth believes the Portuguese has helped breath new life into United this season.

"Having watched them recently on TV, they look a good team. They look really solid and not losing in 14 league games is a great achievement. Not many teams can do that," said the 32-year-old, whose place could come under threat by new loan signing Molla Wague.

"They have a really good balance of great individual players and Jose Mourinho, as he always does, has got them playing as a team. It's all good having individual players, but if you don't play well in a team, you tend not to get the wins.

"He's got them working for each other with class individuals and at the moment it's making a difference for them."

Manchester United will not be lulled into a false sense of security by Leicester's struggles, with Chris Smalling instead focusing on the attributes that saw them become Premier League champions.

Smalling, like so many others, has been surprised by just how far Leicester have fallen, but there appears little chance of complacency seeping in when United head to the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

"Yes, I think I am (surprised by where they are right now) and I think a lot of people are," said the defender, who opened the scoring when United beat them 4-1 at Old Trafford in September.

"Whether they were going to be challenging for the title again or not, I'd expect them to be higher than they are.

"But I don't think we can forget their qualities which made them the champions, the current champions, so I think we need to be more wary of their potential threats and what they did last year rather than the situation they find themselves in now."

Aside from N'Golo Kante, Leicester have retained the core of last season's triumphant team, yet the same players have been unable to scale the heights they managed last term.

Jamie Vardy is chief among them as, despite the nuisance factor remaining, the goals have dried up, managing just five in the league this season.

Smalling said of his England team-mate: "Whether or not he's on a roll of scoring however many goals last season, I think he's someone who will always give his all for the team.

"And no matter their situation or how many goals he's scored, he won't let it rest.

"You know that when you've got the ball, you'll have a few seconds less than you would in the majority of games."

The respect is mutual as Vardy named Smalling as the toughest defender he has faced in the Premier League.

"Yes it is (nice to hear that), and especially when Jamie's one of those players that the majority of defenders would find very hard to play against," the United centre-back said.

"I'd say that as well because of his unpredictability, his pace and his work rate so to hear that - and I did read that - it gives you a little smile when they see that you're a bit of a pest to them."

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