Brendan Rodgers hailed Youri Tielemans' instant FA Cup classic after the midfielder spectacularly gave Leicester glory with a 1-0 final win over Chelsea at Wembley.

The Belgium international took aim from 25 yards in the 63rd minute to spark bedlam among the Leicester supporters in a 21,000 crowd at England's national stadium – the largest attendance for a sporting event in the UK since the coronavirus lockdown last March.

Leicester needed heroics from goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and VAR spared another of the favourites from their Premier League success five years ago.

Substitute Wes Morgan turned a ricocheted shot from Ben Chilwell into his own net to apparently herald extra time, but replays showed the ex-Leicester left-back was offside.

Delirious celebrations, with fans and players as one, greeted the full-time whistle and Tielemens was deservedly named man of the match

"Youri's goal was like an old school FA Cup-winning goal but also Kasper Schmeichel's save, those are the special moments you need in games," Rodgers told BBC Sport.

"Overall I thought we were the better team, we pressed the game really well, super-aggressive tactically. We were always a threat with the ball.

"Chelsea are an amazing team, that's why they're in a Champions League final but I thought we deserved it."

As was the case when Schmeichel, Morgan, Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton starred in Leicester's 2015-16 Premier League title win, this was a maiden triumph in the FA Cup.

"It's an amazing feeling, I wasn't aware before I came to Leicester that they'd never won the FA Cup, they'd lost in four finals previously," said the former Liverpool boss.

"So, to be able to give that to the supporters and the owners, so special.

"I'm so proud. It's a real collective effort at Leicester City - the board, the players, staff, supporters, an amazing day for the city. I'm just so proud for everyone."

Rodgers added: "I've been lucky enough to be in six finals [with Celtic] before and lucky enough to win them. Today being the seventh was truly special.

"It's the FA Cup and as a British coach it means so much to us. I'm so proud, but happier for everyone else."

Kasper Schmeichel lauded Leicester City's "undescribable" FA Cup final triumph as a 1-0 win over Chelsea gave them the trophy for the first time.

Youri Tielemans hit the only goal in the rain at Wembley on Saturday, allowing the Foxes to celebrate with their returning fans under the arch.

That was Leicester's only shot on target, though, and the rest of the drama was reserved for the opposite end of the pitch in the closing stages.

A Wes Morgan own goal was ruled out by the VAR as Ben Chilwell strayed offside, but Schmeichel had twice brilliantly denied Chelsea before that incident.

The Leicester goalkeeper made only three saves yet crucially lunged after a downward Chilwell header and then denied Mason Mount.

Schmeichel became the first keeper since Arsenal's David Seaman in 2003 to captain a side to an FA Cup win, Leicester's first at the fifth time of asking.

"Amazing, undescribable," he told BBC Sport of the victory. "It's what dreams are made of. I've dreamt of this since I was a child.

"We've talked about wanting to win trophies, and the performance today... the determination. I'm so, so proud of everybody.

"Everybody's contributed. To get to the final, everybody's played, everybody's been sensational, all the team behind the team, the medical staff, everybody, all amazing.

"That's why when you work together, you do things properly, you have an eternal belief, that's what you can achieve."

Schmeichel dedicated the win to late Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who died in a helicopter crash following a match in 2018.

"It's exactly that. None of you will be able to see – on the inside of our shirts, we have a picture of him, so he's always with us, Khun Vichai," he said.

"And obviously, for Top [Vichai's son Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha], this is what we dreamt of, this is what we talked about for so many years.

"Today, for the fans, look at it, it's amazing."

This was Leicester's first FA Cup win over Chelsea in 10 attempts, but they must now quickly rally and defeat the same opposition again in the Premier League on Tuesday.

A win in that match would secure Leicester's place in the Champions League for next season, potentially at Chelsea's expense.

"Today is a great day and we'll enjoy it thoroughly, but we play them again on Tuesday in a massive game again," Schmeichel added.

"Today we enjoy it, tomorrow we have to dust ourselves down and can't really think about it again. They're a top class side, they're going to want revenge."

Schmeichel was part of the Foxes team that remarkably won the Premier League in 2015-16, but fellow final hero Tielemans, who created two chances and supplied two tackles as well as scoring, was a subsequent signing.

The Belgium international said: "I think the start was when they won the league. That was when something special started.

"We are just building that up. Hopefully we can continue. We have a very important game on Tuesday. If we win, we are hopefully in the Champions League.

"We just have to go again. Now we will enjoy and celebrate, but we will think about Tuesday later on."

The most notable element of a disjointed goalless first half in Saturday's FA Cup final was the organic soundtrack.

At the Leicester end of the 21,000-strong crowd, there was a throaty collective roar when Kasper Schmeichel completed a routine catch from a right-wing corner. Referee Michael Oliver had plenty of unflattering appraisals of his work and a wildly off-target drive from Chelsea forward Timo Werner drew hearty guffaws.

There aren't really buttons on a fake crowd noise soundboard for any of that stuff.

The most significant crowd any of these footballers had played in front of for 14 months also seemed to have an impact on some adrenaline levels and resulting performances.

Leicester great Gary Lineker, so poignantly emotional after his boyhood club closed out an unforgettable 1-0 win, has enjoyed an enduring post-career link up with Walkers. The Foxes' current main goal threat, Kelechi Iheanacho, played like a punter who'd collected 10 crisp packets and won the chance to try playing at Wembley.

Iheanacho entered the game as the joint top scorer in this season's FA Cup and with 13 goals in his past 12 outings across all competitions. It counted for nothing, the Nigeria international's touch as heavy as his legs, while muddled decision making did nothing to lengthen the short leash Antonio Rudiger kept him on.

Werner draws another blank

Werner would give plenty for some of Iheanacho's prolific form, the type he enjoyed only last season at RB Leipzig. Here, we again witnessed the Chelsea version – tireless probing running to push the opposition defence deep and prescribe Jonny Evans a swift return to the treatment table.

But Werner snatched at his shots, inadvertently touched a goalscoring chance away from captain Cesar Azpilicueta and then saw Wesley Fofana hurl himself into back-to-back blocks. When the ball broke clear, Werner threw himself at Luke Thomas with the same gusto but none of the expertise to be booked.

The occasion was encouraging commitment, anxiety and a dearth of quality, with the notable exception of Mason Mount.

Chelsea's playmaker pirouetting under a high ball to stun a volleyed pass into Azpilicueta's path was easily the most beautiful piece of play before the interval. His shot from the return ball was deflected wide by Fofana, who seemed to take any attempt to test Schmeichel as a personal affront.

 

Azpilicueta found himself forward so often because he featured at wing-back, with the more naturally attacking Reece James on the right of Chelsea's back three.

The Blues began their run to the final with a victory over Morecambe and, to paraphrase the Lancashire town's favourite son, it felt like Thomas Tuchel had selected all the correct right-sided defenders but not necessarily in the right order.

In reality, however, the move came to look inspired, at least defensively as James effectively shackled Jamie Vardy's livewire running.

Youri's glory

The opening stages of the second half, Leicester finally managed to peg their opponents back. James still dealt with everything in immaculate fashion until, well, he didn't.

The 21-year-old botched a routine pass, hitting it at Ayoze Perez. Thomas snaffled the loose ball and Youri Tielemans straightened his run towards the Chelsea box.

Like Evans earlier, Thiago Silva's combination of old head and old legs persuaded him to let his opponent advance towards goal. Unlike Werner, though, Tielemans is a supreme technician at the top of his game.

The Belgium midfielder unleashed an unerring 25-yard firecracker into the top corner. Some thunder to go with the Wembley rain. Behind the goal, bedlam. Limbs. A cup final goal for the ages.

Tuchel decided to act and a pair of double substitutions followed, including former Leicester full-back Ben Chilwell's introduction. His every touch was booed, until he got his head to a cross from N'Golo Kante – the Foxes' 2015-16 title-winning hero, who endured no barracking.

That moment was one for a sharp intake of breath but Schmeichel plunged to his right for a stunning save. His later stop from Mount was even better.

 

Captain Morgan's VAR cocktail

The dying minutes meant time for another of Claudio Ranieri's old stagers as Wes Morgan came on for his first action since December, immediately barking instructions. The band, or what remains of it, were back together.

When he hoisted the Premier League trophy aloft five years ago, Morgan or none of the rest of us lived in the altered reality of VAR. But it saved him here after Chilwell tore off in villainous celebration, his attempt having cannoned in off his old captain after Caglar Soyuncu had tried to hack it clear. The replays showed a tight but obvious offside.

Morgan, Schmeichel and Vardy have a first FA Cup to go with their club's first league title. They are sporting immortals of the east midlands.

The Leicester faithful also have a new trophy-winning hero in Tielemans after his majestic man-of-the-match showing. Following Eden Hazard in 2018 and Kevin De Bruyne in 2019, another Belgium playmaker scored in an FA Cup final victory. A niche and far more palatable new normal.

And that was the best thing about the rash tackles, the blocks, the screamer, the bedlam, the shredded nerves, the drama, the villains and the heroes. The wonderful atmosphere in which it unfolded was all so instantly and beautifully normal.

A sensational Youri Tielemans strike and an agonising VAR call saw Leicester City lift the FA Cup for the first time after Saturday's 1-0 final win over Chelsea.

The Foxes had failed four times previously at this stage, most recently in 1969, but belatedly added to a burgeoning trophy haul that includes the 2015-16 Premier League title.

Tielemans' long-range, second-half strike proved enough, albeit only after late drama as a marginal offside decision rule out Wes Morgan's own goal and send Thomas Tuchel away empty-handed from the first of two Chelsea finals this month.

Before the Blues can turn their focus to the Champions League, though, they must qualify for next season's competition, which likely means on Tuesday defeating a buoyant Leicester side, who themselves need a result at Stamford Bridge.

Yet Leicester surely would not trade victory in that vital match for this precious triumph, which played out in teeming Wembley rain to the soundtrack of 21,000 returning fans.

Jamie Vardy once almost quit football to embark on a new life in the sunnier climes of Ibiza but now happily admits "thank God I didn't".

On Saturday, Vardy will make history as the first player to have featured in every round of the FA Cup from the first preliminary round to the final when Leicester City face off against Chelsea in the Wembley showpiece.

But things could have been very different for Vardy, whose rise from non-league football to Premier League star and England international (albeit he is now retired from the Three Lions) is well documented.

Vardy made a £1million switch to the King Power Stadium from Fleetwood Town ahead of the 2012-13 season, back when the Foxes were playing in the Championship.

He managed just four goals and only 17 starts in the second tier during that first campaign, leaving Vardy questioning his future in the game.

Former team-mate Ben Marshall revealed earlier this year on an episode of popular UK podcast 'Undr the Cosh' how Vardy had planned to hang up the boots early and head to party town Ibiza.

Vardy spoke about that time in his life and how the confidence of former manager Nigel Pearson helped to convince him to stick at it.

"Moving to Ibiza felt a good idea at the time," he told the Daily Mail. "It felt a really good idea. Thank God I didn't.

"It was one of those things. I'd never been in that environment - playing in the Championship, struggling, the performances and the goals not coming and it does make you think.

"I had a chat with Nigel Pearson at one point and I was trying to get him to loan me back to Fleetwood, just because I'd had success there. He said 'listen, you're good enough, just knuckle down, you can play a lot higher'.

"At that stage, I knew he believed in me and after that, it all clicked together. It was a learning curve. The big jump in standard took a bit of time getting used to and then the season after we got promoted."

Vardy was vindicated in his decision, helping Leicester to the Premier League and he now has 116 top-flight goals.

His 24 in the 2015-16 campaign fired Leicester to a famous title triumph and Champions League football in the following season.

Leicester have not been back at Europe's top table since, though they are third in the standings with just two games to play under Brendan Rodgers this term, and have the cup final against Chelsea to play.

Vardy pondered whether the unexpected title win came too soon for the Foxes.

"Winning the league probably set us back a bit because it wasn't supposed to happen so we probably weren't ready for it, on and off the field," he added.

"I couldn't see any of this happening when I signed but it's where the club wanted to go and what they wanted to achieve.

"The owners were brilliant and always wanted to go up and up, and keep progressing. If you look at the nine years since I've been here that's all it's ever done. It's carried on progressing."

Thomas Tuchel has told Chelsea's players there will be no time to celebrate if they beat Leicester City in the FA Cup final… because they must immediately begin preparations for another crunch clash with the same opponents.

The Blues have the opportunity to garnish their impressive recovery under Tuchel with some silverware at Wembley on Saturday.

However, a lacklustre 1-0 loss to Arsenal in midweek leaves their top-four hopes in the balance.

They slipped behind Leicester and are now fourth in the standings, knowing Liverpool could be just a point behind them by the time they host Brendan Rodgers' side on Tuesday.

"There are no celebrations, no celebrations planned. These are special times," Tuchel told reporters.

"If we win there's nothing planned. It's a bit too close that we play on Tuesday again.

"The situation in the league does not allow us to celebrate. We have two finals coming up and want to win both of them.

"Tomorrow will have a huge physical impact and we need to be ready on Sunday to do a good recovery session and on Monday to prepare for the next games.

"If there are celebrations, we need to delay them to a little bit later."

Tuchel has a mixed record in finals, winning the DFB-Pokal with Borussia Dortmund in 2016-17, having lost on penalties to Bayern Munich in the domestic showpiece 12 months earlier.

He won the 2019-20 Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue, having lost – again on penalties to Rennes – in the final of the former a year earlier. However, a 1-0 defeat to Bayern in last August's Champions League final prevented a clean sweep.

"It's very hard to learn from one final to the next final, because you never know how many years or months in between. Your opponent is different, your team is maybe different," said the 47-year-old, who will lead Chelsea in the Champions League final against Manchester City later this month.

"A general rule is that the more tension, the more decisive character that a game has, the less new information you give. You have short, clear sessions.

"It's not the moment to learn new stuff and implement new tactical tricks. It's the moment to be confident and to be well aware what is our style of play, what are our strengths and encourage the players to be on their top level."

At Dortmund, Tuchel explained his attempts to lighten the mood for such occasions extended to him playing as a goalkeeper in training.

"I gave a lot of confidence to my players," he chuckled, having confirmed the far more able Kepa Arrizabalaga will be between the posts for Chelsea in the final.

"Laughter is always very, very welcome, but if you try hard to make the group smile it will not happen. It has to come naturally. If you don't feel it, don't do it

"The tension will grow once you arrive at Wembley. There will be a certain energy that maybe you cannot prepare for. Adapt to it, go for it and embrace the challenge.

"It's normal to be excited and nervous."

In terms of his own preparations when it comes to dealing with those nerves, Tuchel revealed he practices meditation.

"Just 20 minutes, breathe in, breathe out and try hard to do nothing," he added.

"Some years ago I came into this. It helped me, it was a nice experience when I was between coaching Mainz and Dortmund.

"Sometimes I'm very disciplined and do it twice and day, sometimes I am not so disciplined for weeks."

Discipline will be a watchword for Chelsea this weekend – especially immediately after full-time if they manage to secure the club's ninth FA Cup.

Thomas Tuchel believes Chelsea face "two finals" against Leicester City over the course of four days that could do much to define their revival under his leadership.

The Blues have been a team reborn since Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard as head coach in January and Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley is their first of two shots they have at silverware – the other coming in the Champions League final against Manchester City in Porto at the end of this month.

Chelsea and Leicester will reconvene on Tuesday with qualification for next season's Champions League still on the line, especially after contrasting fortunes in their most recent fixtures.

Leicester won 2-1 at Manchester United to move ahead of Chelsea in fourth, who went down to a lacklustre 1-0 derby loss at home to Arsenal.

Liverpool, who also beat United in their match at Old Trafford on Thursday, could be one point behind Chelsea by the time Tuchel's men are back in league action and he lamented his team's failure to be "decisive" in the Arsenal game.

"Obviously I cannot judge it," he said when asked which game was more important. "These are two finals and we do not think about anything else but the two finals.

"It's a final for the cup, it's a final for the top four. We missed a chance against Arsenal to be decisive and now we have to cope with it – first of all to show a reaction at Wembley and have the upper hand when it comes to Tuesday."

Tuchel took his share of the blame immediately after Emile Smith Rowe was gifted the only goal by a dire Jorginho backpass at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, and he conceded his irritation at the result had not quite subsided.

"'I still have a hangover from the last defeat, it's always like this. I'm a bit more in angry mode, not at myself or the players but because of the result and the opportunity we missed," he explained.

"I will hopefully transform that to a good preparation and push the team to the edge to play sharp. We have to show a reaction, it's the FA Cup final at Wembley.

"I am fully focused to prepare my team better than two days ago."

On Thursday, the Champions League final was relocated from Istanbul to Porto due to Turkey being on the UK government's "red list" for travel in relation to COVID-19 restrictions.

Tuchel insists his squad should not be paying any attention to an eagerly anticipated fixture still two weeks away.

"I'm happy to go to Porto, I'm happy to go to a final. That's the easy answer - I would go anywhere to play a final," he said.

"But right now the bigger challenge is to forget the Champions League final and to be fully focused on our two finals that are ahead of us.

"We cannot lose one percentage of concentration and focus. We did this the last game against Arsenal and we got punished for it. Lesson learned and well accepted."

Kepa Arrizabalaga will keep his place at Wembley as Chelsea's cup goalkeeper and Tuchel confirmed Mateo Kovacic was fit to feature again after a month on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

"It's huge because Mateo has everything we need in the midfield," he added. 'Experience, power, he can beat players, he has physical ability and has played big games in the Premier League. 

"When we missed N'Golo [Kante] and Mateo, we lacked a lot of quality, energy and experience.

"Billy [Gilmour] did a huge job in huge games but it's not fair to compare him to these players because they have more experience and are a step ahead in their development. 

"It's big news that [Kovacic] is back because he's a big guy in the dressing room around important matches."

Antonio Rudiger is no stranger to putting himself in difficult and painful situations for the cause, as evidenced by the defensive lynchpin of Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea revival sporting a protective face mask during matches over recent weeks.

Nevertheless, even as a player who appears to relish a challenge and refuse to back down from a confrontation, Chelsea playing behind closed doors might have done Rudiger a favour earlier in the year.

The Stamford Bridge faithful, for all the success lapped up during the Roman Abramovich era, are certainly not shy when it comes to voicing their displeasure over an unpopular change in the dugout, of which there have been plenty.

There was the vocal backing for Roberto Di Matteo weeks after his sacking in 2012. Interim boss Rafael Benitez was the villain in that situation but calling out any perceived culprits among a squad often noted for wielding player power has also marked times of tumult.

When Jose Mourinho's second spell at Chelsea ended with the then-reigning Premier League champions lurching close to the relegation zone in December 2015, he was backed by plenty of fans amid accusations of player betrayal. One banner in the ground famously branded Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa to be "The 3 Rats".

Had stadiums been full around the time of Frank Lampard's January demise, it is possible Rudiger would have faced similar scrutiny.

"There have been so many nonsense rumours around about me since last week," he told The Athletic in February, following speculation that urged the Chelsea board to dispense with Lampard. "I've never talked with the board about the situation of the coach or on any other topics."

In a separate interview with Sky Sports, Rudiger explained he suffered "immense" racist abuse online after Lampard's sacking, both an indication of the levels of toxicity at play and a deplorable sign of our times.

It certainly did not feel plausible that, in the space of four months, Rudiger would be arguably the form defender in European football and leading Chelsea's charge under Tuchel for a pair of major honours, starting in Saturday's FA Cup final against Leicester.

Indeed, the most remarkable element of Rudiger being singled out as a man responsible for so many of the ills at Chelsea around the fall of Lampard was how little he had been involved in the first team.

He started two of their first 17 Premier League fixtures before being recalled in the wake of a 3-1 defeat by Manchester City to start back-to-back games against Fulham and Leicester – the latter of which was a 2-0 defeat that effectively sealed Lampard's fate.

Overall, Rudiger made nine appearances in all competitions under the former England midfielder this season, with eight of those starts. His 742 minutes on the pitch were dwarfed by first-choice duo Kurt Zouma (1,999) and Thiago Silva (1,552).

Tuchel's decision to switch Chelsea into a 3-4-2-1 shape obviously did Rudiger and his fellow centre-backs a favour in the most basic terms of one more slot in the team being available, but the Germany international has repaid his countryman's faith emphatically.

In 21 appearances since, he has been involved in a remarkable 14 clean sheets. No defender in the Premier League, or elsewhere in Europe's top five leagues for that matter, can boast more in this time.

The six goals conceded with him on the field is also the lowest across the continent's elite divisions for any defender to have started 15 or more games from January 27 onwards, which was the date of Tuchel's first game in charge – a 0-0 draw with Wolves.

Rudiger rested up for Wembley in midweek when Chelsea went down to a lacklustre 1-0 home loss to Arsenal. He was an unused substitute for the only other league defeat of Tuchel's tenure, an unhinged 5-2 collapse versus West Brom after Silva was sent off.

In the 19 Premier League games Rudiger has not started in 2020-21, Chelsea have conceded 26 goals at a rate of 1.4 per game. With the ex-Roma man in the first XI, this plummets to seven in 17 (0.4 per game).

Those seven goals have arrived over the course of 1,530 minutes on the field, meaning Rudiger has seen a goal conceded every 218.6 minutes. This is the best ratio in the Premier League for any defender to have played 1,000 minutes or more this term, with Manchester City pairing John Stones (194.9) and Ruben Dias (148.1) next on the list – suggesting the Champions League final in two weeks' time could be something of a cagey affair.

When set alongside his Chelsea central defensive colleagues Zouma, Silva and Andreas Christensen, Rudiger's imposing qualities are evident. He has made 29 tackles in the Premier League this season, an average of 1.7 per 90 minutes, with no other member of the quartet averaging above one.

His 7.1 duels per 90 is bettered by Zouma (7.6), although both have the same return when it comes to duels won (4.8).

Of course, Rudiger has starred within a collective recalibration. In the Premier League, Tuchel's Chelsea have faced an average of 7.8 shots per game at an expected goals (xG) value of 0.6, down from 10.1 and 1 under Lampard.

Adjustments beyond the defence have also made the Blues harder to play against. They control matches far more effectively, with an average of 663.6 passes per game up from 612.7 at a slightly better accuracy (87.7 per cent from 86.3).

Chelsea are also pressing opponents more effectively, allowing an average of 10.1 passes per defensive action (PPDA) under Tuchel, behind only FA Cup final foes Leicester and Leeds United across the period in question. This season with Lampard in charge, they averaged 11 PPDA, which was fourth among all Premier League teams.

The improvements have made life a little easier for defenders, but when Chelsea step out at Wembley there will be no mystery over the identity of their standout performer at centre-back – even if he is wearing a mask. Rudiger has lifted himself off the scrapheap to become Tuchel's talisman.

The long-term futures of Jesse Lingard and Jadon Sancho are set to become clearer soon.

Lingard has impressed on loan from Manchester United at West Ham, reviving his career as David Moyes' side push to secure European football for next season.

England international Sancho, meanwhile, has dazzled since moving to Germany - but is he now ready to return home?

 

TOP STORY - LINGARD AND SANCHO TO SWAP PLACES

The Sun reports that Manchester United will offer Jesse Lingard to Borussia Dortmund as part of a swap deal for Jadon Sancho.

United chased Sancho last year but were unable to land the winger due to Dortmund's asking price.

It is understood the value held by the Bundesliga club is around £100million (€116m), so Lingard's inclusion may help drive that down and seal a deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Times claims that Manchester City have formalised the top four players on their off-season shopping list in forwards Erling Haaland, Harry Kane, Lautaro Martinez and Andre Silva.

- Manchester United are preparing a bid for Atletico Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente worth £68m (€79m), reports the Mirror.

- Off-contract Southampton full-back Ryan Bertrand is attracting interest from Leicester City, claims the Leicester Mercury.

- Per Marca, Barcelona have an agreement in place to sign Memphis Depay, who is soon to be out of contract at Lyon. The Dutch forward is set to be reunited with Ronald Koeman at Camp Nou.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer applauded Mason Greenwood for playing with responsibility alongside some of Manchester United's younger players against Leicester City and wants him to retain that authority when teaming up with first-team regulars.

United lost 2-1 at home to Leicester on Tuesday, a defeat that confirmed Manchester City as Premier League champions for the third time in four years.

The result did not come as a huge surprise, however, given Solskjaer had made 10 changes to his starting XI from the 3-1 win over Aston Villa just two days earlier – Greenwood the only player to keep his place.

The England international got United's goal, a tidy finish into the bottom-left corner after skipping past Caglar Soyuncu to cancel out Luke Thomas' spectacular opener.

Alongside him in the United attack were 18-year-old Amad Diallo, making his Premier League debut, and Anthony Elanga, who was playing his first ever game for the senior side – Greenwood, although only six months older than the latter, was making his 102nd appearance.

Solskjaer felt Greenwood – occupying the central striker position – played with greater authority and responsibility as a result and he wants the 19-year-old to take that into their next game against Liverpool on Thursday, when the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba can expect to be back in the team.

"You saw some definite leadership, the way he had to take responsibility," Solskjaer said.

"He's got Amad and Anthony next to him, looks at them and thinks, 'I've got 100 games here so I need to help them', which is great.

"He did really well, considering his age he's got 100 games and has got loads of experience.

"The way he took responsibility, I was really pleased with it. That's maybe not as easy when you've got Bruno, Paul, Marcus and Edinson [Cavani] next to you, which is natural.

"I still want him to take that responsibility when he plays. No matter how old you are, if you believe in yourself, trust in yourself, and think it's the right decision, you make that decision.

"He did that [against Leicester] and I still want him to do that on Thursday, when he plays with the more experienced ones."

It has been a testing season for Greenwood, who struggled early on to replicate the remarkable form he had shown in 2019-20.

The teenager had to cope with the death of a close friend and was then involved in controversy on England duty, finding himself sent home after making his debut and then being excluded from the next selection.

Greenwood also appeared to become something of a target for certain sections of the British media, and his form suffered considerably, only managing three goals across all competitions between the start of the season in September and the end of 2020.

His struggles continued into 2021 and the forward went on a run of 15 appearances without a single goal from late January, but he ended that barren spell against Leicester City on March 21 and has since netted eight times in 11 matches.

No Premier League player has scored more goals on all fronts over the same period, with Greenwood once again showing the kind of killer-instinct in front of goal that made him so feared in 2019-20, when he scored 17 goals.

Ten of those came in the league from an expected goals (xG) value of just 2.9, meaning he scored 7.1 goals more than expected. No player in the division could match that xG overperformance.

This would generally indicate elite-level finishing or a player getting lucky. Greenwood's form earlier this season suggested it was the latter, but since March 21 his xG overperformance across all competitions is 5.0 – almost double the next-most efficient player in that time, Kelechi Iheanacho (xG overperformance of 2.9).

After a shaky period, Greenwood is seemingly back on track and showing the finishing talents that made people sit up and take note last season.

While Solskjaer wants him to keep playing with authority for United, on current form many would even be backing him to take extra "responsibility" with England at Euro 2020.

Manchester United head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has criticized the scheduling of his side's league fixtures, labelling them as "impossible" amid a pile-up.

Solskjaer fielded a second-string line-up for Tuesday's 2-1 home loss to Leicester City, which comes only two days after they won 3-1 away to Aston Villa in the Premier League.

The Red Devils' fixture pile-up has been compounded by their run to the Europa League final, having completed their passage on Thursday with an 8-5 aggregate win over Roma.

But United's backlog was made worse by their postponed league fixture against Liverpool due to fan protests at Old Trafford.

United play that fixture against Liverpool on Thursday before another league match against Fulham on Tuesday.

Solskjaer acknowledged the situation the postponed Liverpool fixture had created but called for fairer re-scheduling.

"It can’t be like this again," Solskjaer said post-game. "You can’t play Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday - it is impossible.

"That’s the reason why we had to make these changes because it is unheard of. I say it again, if this game was tomorrow, no problem and if we have another game on Saturday.

"If you have two days in between, there is no problem but this is impossible for the players to perform at this level Thursday night, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. It is impossible."

Leicester City head coach Brendan Rodgers has hailed his side's "extremely important win" over Manchester United as they move a step closer to securing Champions League qualification.

Goals from Luke Thomas and Caglar Soyuncu earned the Foxes three crucial points in the race for the top four.

Leicester moved back into to third with the victory, up to 66 points after 36 games, sitting ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea on 64 points from 35 games.

West Ham and Liverpool are on 58 and 57 points from 35 and 34 games respectively, with Leicester's win creating an improbable deficit to overcome.

The Foxes crumbled at this stage in their Champions League bid last season so the magnitude of a rare win at Old Trafford was not lost on Rodgers

"It’s an extremely important win for us," Rodgers said. "It’s huge.

"We’re at 66 points now, which is what two of the sides that finished in there last season got.

"It’s a big step but there are still two games to go and the teams are still chasing us, so we still have work to do."

Leicester, who play Chelsea in the FA Cup final this weekend, have two tough remaining Premier League fixtures away to the Blues and at home to Tottenham.

"It’s the stage of the season where every win, every point is so important," Rodgers said.

"To be able to come to Old Trafford, it’s another victory for us against a top six club and, as you can see, it’ll be very, very important for us and where we finish this season."

On Saturday's FA Cup final, Rodgers added: "You can see the quality of their team, but we’ll be ready. We’ll look forward to it and we’ll fight to be the first team in Leicester City’s history to win the FA Cup."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says it will take a couple of new signings for Manchester United to seriously challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title next season.

A United side showing 10 changes from Sunday's victory at Aston Villa fell to a 2-1 loss at home to Leicester City on Tuesday - a result that crowned City as champions with three games to spare.

It is City's seventh top-flight title triumph, five of those in the last decade, while United's wait for Premier League glory will stretch into a ninth season.

While Solskjaer feels his side deserve praise for pushing City as far as they did, the Norwegian accepts it will take some spending in the close season to fully close the gap.

"If you want to take up the challenge with them we need to strengthen our squad," he told BT Sport. "Congratulations to them. They have had a fantastic season. 

"I am very pleased with my boys that have made it to the last 10 days with a Manchester City side ahead of us that are lauded as the best in Europe.

"We want to take the next step and it might be that we need a couple more to strengthen the squad."

Mason Greenwood was the only player to keep his place in United's starting line-up for the loss to third-placed Leicester, who are now within four points of their opponents.

Solskjaer hinted ahead of the game he would prioritise the upcoming clash with Liverpool, which comes a little over 48 hours after the visit of Leicester to Old Trafford.

The United boss believes his side performed well given the circumstances as he again hit out at the Premier League for rescheduling the game versus Liverpool for this Thursday.

"We started off slow, as you might expect because they have not had any time to prepare for the game, but after they scored we had nothing to lose," he said.

"We played some very good stuff and I was pleased with it. We have not had too much time to prepare and we went into half-time pleased. 

"They didn't get out of the traps and they got a goal from a corner that should have been a throw.

"But it can't be like this again. We can't play Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday to Thursday. It is impossible. That's the reason we made the changes. 

"It's unheard of. It is impossible for the players to perform at this level going from Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday."

Greenwood's smart finish cancelled out Luke Thomas' impressive volleyed opener, before Caglar Soyuncu headed in a winner for Leicester 24 minutes from time.

England international Greenwood now has 29 goals in all competitions since the start of last season, which is the most of any teenager in Europe's top five leagues.

On a day that saw Amad Diallo and Anthony Elanga make their Premier League debuts for United, Solskjaer reserved special praise for Greenwood.

"Mason looked like a seasoned professional and he is only 19," Solskjaer said at his post-match news conference.

"You saw some definite leadership in he had to take responsibility. He did really well considering his age.

"No matter how old you are, if you believe yourself and trust yourself then you make that decision."

The defeat for United was their fifth at Old Trafford in the Premier League this season, which is as many as in their previous two campaigns combined.

Leicester City enhanced their Champions League hopes with a 2-1 win over Manchester United – a result that crowned Manchester City as Premier League champions.

United were the only team with a mathematical chance of overhauling Pep Guardiola's side, but a line-up bearing 10 changes from Sunday's 3-1 victory at Aston Villa showed how realistic Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thought those hopes were.

Liverpool are at Old Trafford on Thursday for their rearranged game, and Solskjaer's youthful line-up for this second of three matches in five days fell behind when Luke Thomas brilliantly steered in a 10th-minute volley for his first Premier League goal.

Mason Greenwood extended his recent purple patch to eight goals in 11 outings shortly afterwards but United carried little threat and Leicester centre-back Soyuncu was left to make his most telling contribution at the other end of the field midway through the second half.

It meant a third title in four seasons for Manchester City – an outcome that felt slightly fanciful when they lost 5-2 at home to Leicester back in September.

There was an injury scare for United left-back Alex Telles early on and Leicester's opener came as Youri Tielemans made progress down his flank, possibly over hitting the cross from which Thomas finished with aplomb.

A teenager more familiar with the scoresheet quickly got United back on terms, Greenwood drilling home in superbly assured fashion after Amad Diallo got the better of Thomas.

David De Gea pushed another awkwardly dipping Tielemans cross behind for a corner in the 28th minute, as the lively start to proceedings gave way to a more fragmented contest.

The Belgium midfielder remained the only Leicester player who looked frequently capable of unlocking a patched-up United and he slid a pass into Kelechi Iheanacho – De Gea sharply denying the striker with his boot.

Leicester's deliveries from open play left plenty to be desired, although Marc Albrighton's 66th-minute corner picked out Soyuncu to power home as substitute Marcus Rashford was caught napping.

Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes amounted to some particularly prolific cavalry, the latter slicing wastefully wide six minutes from time as City readied the champagne corks.

Manchester City have been crowned Premier League champions after Manchester United's 2-1 defeat to Leicester City on Tuesday.

Luke Thomas volleyed Leicester into a 10th-minute lead against a much-changed United side and, though Mason Greenwood responded five minutes later, the Foxes ensured the title will head to the blue half of Manchester through Caglar Soyuncu's 66th-minute header.

Pep Guardiola's men have now won three titles in four seasons, regaining their crown at the first time of asking following Liverpool's 2019-20 success.

City were unable to get over the line on their own terms last weekend as a much-changed XI went down 2-1 to Chelsea, despite Raheem Sterling giving them a 44th-minute lead

Sergio Aguero, who has twice scored in title-clinching victories for the club where he is the all-time record goalscorer, could have given them breathing space in first-half stoppage time but botched a Panenka penalty attempt in hilarious fashion.

That left the door ajar for Thomas Tuchel's men to capitalise through Hakim Ziyech's equaliser and Marcos Alonso's stoppage-time winner.

Aguero can at least console himself with a fifth league winners' medal, having been involved in each of City's Premier League wins.

It pulls them level with Chelsea on five triumphs, with Manchester United's 13 won under Alex Ferguson still granting them breathing space overall.

Guardiola joins Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho on three Premier League titles. Only Ferguson has won more and the Catalan is the 12th manager in English top-flight history to have won three or more league championships.

Overall, it is City's seventh time as English champions, including wins in 1936-37 and 1967-68. It puts them joint fifth in the all-time standings alongside Aston Villa and behind United (20), Liverpool (19), Arsenal (13) and Everton (nine).

In the modern era, there can be no doubting City's dominance, with this their fifth title in the past 10 seasons. Only Chelsea (two) have won the Premier League more than once during the same period.

Guardiola similarly stands tall among his contemporaries, with nine titles across his 12 top-flight seasons as a coach – three apiece with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City.

Such an achievement did not look likely as his team made a stuttering start to 2020-21. On Christmas Day they were eighth in the table and eight points behind leaders Liverpool.

Only two teams in Premier League history (Arsenal in 1997-98 – 13 points; Manchester United in 1995-96 – 10 points) have been further behind at Christmas and won the title and neither were as low as eighth when they did so.

You have to go back to before the Premier League era for a team in a lower position on December 25 ending up as champions. City themselves were 12th in 1936, the same position as Liverpool in 1981. Derby County claimed glory from 10th at Christmas in 1974-75.

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