Leicester defender Christian Fuchs admits the club’s title winners now face a battle to make the team.
The former Austria international knows the squad remains in transition, two years after their famous Premier League triumph.
Only four championship winners started the 2-1 win at Southampton – although Jamie Vardy was suspended – and it is likely to be the same case when the Foxes host Liverpool on Saturday.
Fuchs’ only appearance this season came in Tuesday’s 4-0 League Cup win over Fleetwood, where he scored a spectacular opener, and he knows the class of 2016 cannot simply trade on past glories.
He said: “No, but we never did. The win is already two and half years ago now. That is just normal in football, you try to always take the next step and evolve the team to build something new.
“Every manager has his own ideas. Back then it was Claudio (Ranieri) and since then we have had two other managers. There is always a change and it is just normal, we all live with that, it is nothing new for me.
“Of course I want to play. Everyone in the squad wants to. If you are not playing then obviously you are not overly happy.
“Whenever the gaffer needs me I am here and the performance against Fleetwood shows I am always here. I feel great. I feel I am still in my prime and feel better than ever.”
Fuchs, who joined from Schalke in 2015, will leave to join his family in New York next summer when his contract expires as the league champions steadily leave the King Power Stadium.
Riyad Mahrez left for Manchester City for £60million this summer while Robert Huth was released and Leonardo Ulloa was allowed to join Pachuca in Mexico.
N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater joined Chelsea in 2016 and 2017 respectively while Danny Simpson and Andy King are expected to go in due course.
Boss Claude Puel added £24m man James Maddison to the squad in the summer, along with Ricardo Pereira, Rachid Ghezzal, Danny Ward and Caglar Soyuncu.
And Fuchs feels the strength in depth at Leicester has grown.
The 32-year-old said: “I think we can line up two squads. I think the squad is wide and gives a lot of quality. The game against Fleetwood showed if there is an injury – I hope no one will get injured – the next man is there to fill the role.”
Vardy serves the final game of his ban against Liverpool while Matty James (Achilles) remains out.
Jose Mourinho has dismissed speculation about his future at Manchester United by restating his belief that he is “one of the greatest managers in the world”.
The 55-year-old, who introduced himself to English football in 2004 as “the special one”, told reporters on Friday that he would still be special even if he fails at United.
“I am the manager of the one of the greatest clubs in the world but I’m also one of the greatest managers in the world,” said Mourinho.
“I repeat, I have won eight titles (as a manager). I’m the only manager to win in Italy, Spain and England.
“Not small titles, proper titles, and my second last season was one of my greatest achievements in football.”
The Red Devils face Burnley away on Sunday and Mourinho was spotted scouting at Turf Moor during the Clarets’ Europa League qualifying clash against Olympiacos on Thursday night.
Newcastle United travel to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday dreading the unenviable task ahead of them.
The Magpies go up against the reigning Premier League champions after a poor start to the season during which they’ve gone winless in four including a 3-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest in midweek, eliminating them from the Carabao Cup.
Rafa Benitez, who was left frustrated by the club’s lack of investment in the squad during the summer transfer window, must somehow devise a plan for his injury-hit team to miraculously resist Manchester City‘s overwhelming attack.
The hosts on the other hand, look in ominous form and are favourites to retain their Premier League crown despite a hiccup away to Wolves last week. City were unfortunate at Molineux, having conceded a contentious goal that appeared to go in off Willy Boly’s hand, been denied a penalty and seen Sergio Aguero strike the woodwork twice.
The Argentine will nevertheless be brimming with confidence as he lines up against Newcastle. Having scored 14 goals against them in just nine outings, they are comfortably his favourite opponents over the course of his career. City relish Newcastle’s visits as well, scoring at least three goals against them in six of their last seven meetings at the Etihad across all competitions.
Sergio Aguero has scored 14 goals in his 11 PL games against Newcastle— Premier League Stat Man (@EPLStatman) August 30, 2018
8 of these goals have come in his last two home games against them 🏟
5️⃣ vs Newcastle (H) ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️
3️⃣ vs Newcastle (H) ⚽️⚽️⚽️#MCFC #FPL pic.twitter.com/QwrAe9dpe5
The gulf in class is palpable but how easily the shoe could’ve been on the other foot.
Over a decade ago, the Abu Dhabi United Group owned by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, were considering expanding their interests into England’s top flight and weighed up Newcastle as an option, as well as Everton, before settling on City.
It’s perhaps fitting that on the 10th anniversary of their £210 million takeover, the team faces Newcastle – a club riddled with underachievement and battles with relegation, encapsulating what City might have been – and indeed were – without the significant investment of the owners.
That overpowering financial muscle was immediately flexed in 2008 when City signed Robinho from Real Madrid for a then British transfer record £32.5m soon after the takeover was complete. Several marquee signings followed in the succeeding transfer windows. After their fair share of poor acquisitions as well, it was Roberto Mancini who put the final pieces of the puzzle together and won the club’s first league title in 44 years.
In the grand scheme of things though, that was not the most significant step for the club in 2012.
“We are building a structure for the future, not just a team of all-stars,” Sheikh Mansour declared in 2008 and after winning the league four years on, City appointed former Barcelona’s executive duo Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain to reshape the club’s business model and football strategy.
The Citizens began to steer away from a path that Chelsea have stubbornly persisted upon since Roman Abramovich’s takeover. The Londoners’ model based on immediate success is a risky one and requires copious, and continuous, amounts of investment in the squad to sustain – not to mention a revolving door at Stamford Bridge to facilitate the comings and goings of several head coaches. City, had other ideas.
Having already been set on the right course, investing £200m in a cutting edge training complex and academy, their decisions – football and business related – in recent years have defined the club and their desire to build a dynasty.
The appointment of Pep Guardiola was inspired and could well be remembered as one of the most significant moments in the club’s history. The Spaniard was already a renowned visionary and built a stellar reputation during his trophy-laden spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
In Guardiola, they attained a revolutionary manager capable of delivering on both fronts. Not only has he assembled a team equipped to sweep all before them, but he’s also laid the foundation for the club to dominate English football for years to come.
City were undeterred by his trophyless first season in charge, and instead backed him heavily ahead of the next campaign, spending over £133m solely on his requirement of three new full-backs and it has paid dividends.
Guardiola has silenced critics who suggested that his possession-based style of play would not thrive amid the physicality of the English game. In doing so, he has contributed heavily to the club’s identity going forward, one they should persevere to maintain long after his eventual departure.
Another in a long line of emphatic home victories is there for the taking at the Etihad on Saturday, and with it, a celebration of the behemoth this football club has transformed into.