Cape Town - Luis Hernandez believes Leicester City's performance in last Sunday's Community Shield against Manchester United proves that, despite the result, the reigning champions will again be a match for the Premier League's biggest sides this season.
The summer signing from Sporting Gijon has urged his teammates to take encouragement from their 2-1 defeat in Sunday's traditional English football season opener at Wembley and to use their near miss as motivation in their Premier League opener against Hull City on Saturday.
''It is important that we have the hurt in the next game next Saturday,'' the 27-year-old told LCFC TV on Tuesday. ''It is important to start the season well after last season. I hope we can play well and get the win.''
Leicester were the surprise packages of last season, winning the Premier League title after starting as 5 000 to 1 outsiders. This summer they received a major boost when Jamie Vardy rejected Arsenal in favour of staying the champions although key midfielder N'Golo Kante joined Chelsea for £30 million.
''The team played a good game and we showed that again this season we can compete with the Premier League's big clubs,'' said Hernandez. ''We can be happy with the performance and be confident for the season.''
Zlatan Ibrahimovic secured the Community Shield for FA Cup holders United with a late winner after Jamie Vardy's second-half strike had cancelled out Jesse Lingard's opener.