Super Eagles midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and Leicester City are 19th after another round of Premier League fixtures on Saturday.
The former KRC Genk midfielder travelled to the Etihad alongside his team to attempt to take points off the Premier League defending champions Manchester City. They met a brick wall, however, bringing them down to earth and educating them on the reality of their current situation.
Before the game, the Cityzens seemed confident in their ability to scale past the Foxes, who have struggled for most of the season. Ndidi, speaking on behalf of his team, believed the Premier League defending champions to be overconfident and was looking forward to beating them like they did in 2020.
Ndidi, who was part of that team that ran riot at the Etihad that fateful day, said before their most recent clash: “It’s going to be an exciting game because the confidence is coming back a bit. This is a good time to play them because they could be a little surprised and that gives us confidence for the next one.”
Manchester City were not surprised in the least when the Foxes visited. They were three goals up in the first 25 minutes of the game, one of which was a penalty scored by top scorer Erling Haaland following a handball by Ndidi himself. Kelechi Iheanacho would pull one back for the Foxes but it would turn out to be a consolation at best.
The former Manchester City man's goal came as a result of Pep Guardiola withdrawing his best performers in the game in preparation for their trip to Germany in midweek. The Citizens have to face German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter final tie.
Ndidi is considered key to turning the club's fortune's around in the league this season by Dean Smith, who replaced Brendan Rodgers for the City game and beyond. The former Aston Villa manager held a meeting with the Super Eagles midfielder and a few other players in order to share his visions and get their feeling towards the rest of the season.
“One of my big strengths, I think, is to listen to the players,” Smith said to Sky Sports. “I will ask them questions. Players are not always used to being asked questions, but I want to know what they know and what they think.
“These are the small details that others can miss.”
Following the meeting, Ndidi noted that Smith wanted the team to go back to the basics and do things simply in order to get ehri season back on track. “It’s time to go back to basics and doing things simple,” Ndidi said.
“This is what the manager is trying to do and then we’re trying to give everything we have.” he told LCFC TV.
The City loss, while not surprising and entirely unexpected, will be a minor setback for Smith and his team. They will now turn their focus to their next three games.
The Foxes have Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds United and Everton up next. These are opportunities to better their fortunes and Ndidi will be confident that his team can get the results that they need to stay in the Premier League for the 2024/24 season.
This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago