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Mar 4, 2020 at 7.45pm UK
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Brendan Rodgers hails consistency of "first class" defender Ricardo Pereira

:Headline: Brendan Rodgers hails consistency of 'first class' defender Ricardo Pereira:
The 26-year-old has been a model of consistency for the Foxes this season.

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has hailed the professionalism of his "first class" right-back Ricardo Pereira.

The Portugal defender headed Leicester's late winner against Birmingham on Wednesday night that sent the Foxes into the FA Cup quarter-finals for the second time in three seasons.

Pereira has been a model of consistency this campaign and Rodgers said the 26-year-old has been a pleasure to work with since his arrival at the King Power Stadium as manager just over a year ago.

"I've got a brilliant player. He's so low maintenance. The intensity he plays the game, that's how he trains," said the Foxes boss.

"He always wants to get better, he wants to learn, his defending has got better, and then going forward he's such a threat, whether that's his crossing or looking to come in behind.

"He showed his power in his jump for the goal, it was a great header. He's jumping against a centre-half from a standing jump. It was a great ball by Marc (Albrighton) to keep it in play and it was a great header to win the game.

"He's up there with the really top right-backs at this level, and he's consistently been first class."

Birmingham boss Pep Clotet has welcomed the boost of having Maikel Kieftenbeld, Kerim Mrabti and Wes Harding fit for the final few weeks of the campaign.

Kieftenbeld started a match for the first time in 11 months against Leicester while Mrabti made his comeback following a month-long absence and Harding was involved for the first time since mid-February.

"I had to change the side, it was our fourth game in 10 days and we have another game against Reading on Saturday," said Clotet.

"Those three, it was like they were regulars and I am so pleased. To get Maikel and Kerim back and for them to perform like that after their injuries, it was massive.

"They were suited for their roles, even though Wes didn't play in his primary position, he suited the way we played. They were very good, they all stuck to the game plan very well. It was very clear for the players and they got some good minutes."

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