I did not swap Celtic for mediocrity, says new Leicester boss Rodgers

I did not swap Celtic for mediocrity, says new Leicester boss Rodgers
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Europa League - Round of 32 Second Leg - Valencia v Celtic - Mestalla, Valencia, Spain - February 21, 2019 Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers before the match REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo -
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(Reuters) - New Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has brushed aside suggestions that he moved to a "mediocre club" after leaving Scottish champions Celtic to return to the Premier League.

Rodgers, who won the domestic treble twice in Scotland, was appointed Leicester's new boss on Tuesday after Claude Puel's sacking and signed a deal to June 2022.

Rodgers' decision to leave Celtic before he accomplished a 'treble-treble' did not sit well with the club's supporters who unfurled a banner during their match against Hearts on Wednesday calling him a "fraud" for trading "immortality for mediocrity".

"I certainly haven't swapped to come into a mediocre club. This is a fantastic club with a rich history of its own," Rodgers told reporters ahead of Sunday's trip to Watford.

"Celtic supporters will hurt. I understand how they feel. For me, this was about the challenge and coming back into the Premier League."

Leicester sit 11th in the standings with no hope of winning a trophy but Rodgers said he had big expectations next season, hoping to challenge for a trophy again after the club defied 5,000-1 odds to win the Premier League title in 2016.

"The expectancy is to challenge for a European place (next season) and look to win a trophy," Rodgers, who nearly led Liverpool to the league title in 2014, added.

"What Leicester achieved was an incredible story. That will always be difficult to repeat."

Rodgers also said leaving Celtic, a club he supported, was not an easy decision to make but he could not turn down the Leicester job when it was offered to him.

"It was a very difficult decision. If I was making this decision with my heart I would have been at Celtic for life because it is an incredible club and one I've supported all my life," Rodgers said.

"It all happened very quickly. This was an opportunity that was presented to me and, of course, then emotionally you have to take that out.

"After nearly three years at Celtic with everything we had achieved I felt it was time to move on to my next challenge. I've had opportunities to leave but this one was too good to turn down, with the ambition that Leicester have."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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