Brendan Rodgers says he “couldn’t ask for any more” after Leicester sealed top spot in their Europa League group with victory over AEK Athens.
Cengiz Under and Harvey Barnes scored in a game they needed to win to finish above nearest rivals Sporting Braga.
Fourth in the Premier League table, three points behind leaders Tottenham, Leicester can now look forward to the knockout stage of the Europa League.
“We had to show the mentality and attitude in the game,” said Rodgers.
Progress adds to feel-good factor
Leicester have overcome a number of injury setbacks to make steady progress in 2020-21, with the Europa League giving Rodgers the opportunity to hand some of his younger players a chance to gain valuable European experience.
“I couldn’t ask for any more,” added Foxes boss Rodgers.
“If you said at the start of the season we would be top of the group and fourth in the Premier League with all the injuries we’ve had I would have been pretty pleased.”
Leicester will be seeded in Monday’s Europa League last-32 draw after sealing top spot in Group G.
They finished on 13 points, the same number as Braga, but claimed top spot thanks a superior head-to-head record over their Portuguese rivals.
Two-time European champions Benfica and Real Sociedad, who sit second in La Liga, are among the unseeded teams Rodgers’ side could face in February.
Having won just one of their previous five group games, AEK Athens were playing for pride.
But the visitors failed to recover after falling 2-0 down in 14 minutes.
Turkey winger Under’s finish was exquisite, the on-loan player from Roma punishing Stratos Svarnas’ mistake by volleying past the keeper.
Two minutes later it was 2-0, England international Barnes cutting into the penalty area before his shot took a heavy deflection off Ionut Nedelcearu.
Luke Thomas followed his goal at Sporting Braga last month with an assist for Barnes, while France Under-21 defender Wesley Fofana, also 19 and one of the finds of the season, finished the game with a 93% passing accuracy rate.
AEK Athens offered very little threat and keeper Danny Ward was not required to make a serious save.
In a dominant performance, Leicester carved out 16 chances, six of which were on target.
Barnes’ impressive Europa League record – the stats
- Harvey Barnes has scored in three of his four starts in the Europa League.
- AEK Athens have lost 11 of their last 12 matches in the Europa League/Champions League, having gone nine unbeaten before this run.
- After no clean sheets in their first four home games of 2020-21, Leicester have recorded a shutout in four of their last five at the King Power in all competitions.
- Cengiz Under has been directly involved in six goals in his last 10 European starts for Leicester City and Roma (4 goals, 2 assists).
Leicester are back in Premier League action on Sunday when Brighton are the visitors to the King Power Stadium (19:15 GMT).
- 3FofanaSubstituted forMorganat 82′minutes
- 25NdidiSubstituted forMendyat 63′minutes
- 8TielemansSubstituted forChoudhuryat 82′minutes
- 14IheanachoSubstituted forPérezat 67′minutes
- 26HnidBooked at 24mins
- 24SvarnasSubstituted forShakhovat 56′minutes
- 20MantalosSubstituted forAlbanisat 66′minutes
- 8Gomes SimoesSubstituted forGalanopoulosat 81′minutes
- 9GarciaSubstituted forMacherasat 55′minutes
- 11AnsarifardSubstituted forOliveiraat 66′minutes
- Lawrence Visser
Match ends, Leicester City 2, AEK Athens 0.
Second Half ends, Leicester City 2, AEK Athens 0.
Hand ball by Konstantinos Galanopoulos (AEK Athens).
Attempt missed. Harvey Barnes (Leicester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by James Justin with a cross.
Luke Thomas (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nélson Oliveira (AEK Athens).
Harvey Barnes (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Stavros Vasilantonopoulos (AEK Athens).
Attempt missed. Nélson Oliveira (AEK Athens) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right.
Attempt blocked. Nélson Oliveira (AEK Athens) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Konstantinos Galanopoulos.
Substitution, Leicester City. Hamza Choudhury replaces Youri Tielemans.
Substitution, Leicester City. Wes Morgan replaces Wesley Fofana.
Hand ball by Wesley Fofana (Leicester City).
Substitution, AEK Athens. Konstantinos Galanopoulos replaces Andre Simoes.
Youri Tielemans (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Andre Simoes (AEK Athens).
Harvey Barnes (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Theodosis Macheras (AEK Athens).
Ayoze Pérez (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Andre Simoes (AEK Athens).