Leicester’s Maresca hails ‘fantastic moment’ after Premier League return

Leicester manager Enzo Maresca on Saturday hailed a “fantastic moment” for the club after they sealed an immediate return to the Premier League but underlined his determination to win the Championship title.

Promotion for the Foxes was sealed after second-placed Leeds lost 4-0 at QPR on Friday.

Leicester top the table on 94 points with two games to play while Leeds stay second on 90 but with just one match left.

Third-placed Ipswich can pip Leeds to the second automatic promotion place — and can still win the title. Ipswich have 89 points with three matches remaining.

Teams that finish from third to sixth in the second tier go into the play-offs to determine the third promotion spot.

“I feel so proud to see the hard work of everybody associated with Leicester City throughout the entire season rewarded with our promotion to the Premier League,” said Maresca, appointed last June.

“This achievement is one for us all to share and one that I know means so much to the owners, to the players and to our supporters.

“What we have accomplished was not easy. There are many good teams in a very competitive league, but the work we’ve done together with our players to turn our idea of how to play into a reality has helped us overcome all these challenges.”

The Italian said his side were not finished yet.

“This is a fantastic moment for the football club and one we should celebrate, but we still have work to do. We’re determined to end this season in first place and lift that trophy in front of our supporters at King Power Stadium on the final day.”

City head to Preston on Monday before hosting Blackburn next week.

Leicester were shock Premier League champions in 2016 under former manager Claudio Ranieri but were relegated with Leeds and Southampton last season.

They were cruising towards promotion in February but a series of stumbles raised doubts about their promotion bid.

But an emphatic 5-0 win against Southampton on Tuesday put them on the brink of a return to the Premier League.

Joy at promotion will be tempered as they were charged in March by the Premier League over alleged breaches of profitability and sustainability rules relating to their last three years in the top flight.

If found guilty, Leicester could start life back in the top division with a points deduction.

AFP

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