Brendan Rodgers concedes Leicester may have already PEAKED in their European ambitions with the Foxes devastated by last-gasp Spurs defeat… as he admits injuries have cost his side
- Leicester face Brighton on Sunday with the Foxes desperately in need of a win
- They fell to a dramatic 3-2 loss against Spurs last time out, a blow to their season
- Brendan Rodgers has secured back-to-back fifth place finishes and an FA Cup
- Northern Irish boss fears that’s as good as it gets for a club with their budget
Brendan Rodgers has warned that Leicester City may have already reached their pinnacle as he tries to pick them up from their devastating defeat to Tottenham and reignite a European push.
The Leicester boss branded football the ‘University of Adversity’ after his side threw away a lead deep into stoppage time in their dramatic loss in midweek.
He must find a way to inspire his injury-hit side to put disappointment behind them as they welcome Brighton to the King Power Stadium this afternoon with the club as close to the relegation zone as they are to the top seven.
Brendan Rodgers is concerned his Leicester side may not be able to replicate their success
Leicester’s defeat by Spurs was a damaging blow to their hopes of more European football
Rodgers says he’s still ‘excited’ for the challenge of getting Leicester into Europe but admits that their two successive fifth-placed finishes and FA Cup triumph could be as good as they can achieve with their finances compared to their rivals.
‘We’re not too far from where our budget is,’ said Rodgers. ‘I’ve a dose of realism from when I came in here. I said I wanted to disrupt the market and we have done that. We have won things – which is great. Progress has been hampered a little bit this season.
‘With success, what happens is that you have two fifth-placed finishes and then you qualify for European football, people think you have created a foundation for success but for a club like ourselves, it may be the pinnacle. Because of resources and where others are at, it’s very difficult.
‘People think we are not taking one of the big clubs in this country into the top five then there’s massive resources to push it on. These players have been brilliant in these last couple of seasons. If we are missing players, then that’s where it’s at. We are on par, as such.
Rodgers brought an FA Cup and back-to-back fifth places finishes to the high-flying club
‘My job is to elevate us beyond that and push and that’s what we have always done: win things, play good football and bring young players through. That’s the vision as it was outlined. For me, it’s to disrupt, keep fighting and all within keeping the club in a sustainable place.
‘Whether that’s success or failure, it’s all about the narrative. I know where we have been and where we are taking the club. If expectation is there, that’s great because it means we’ve achieved something.’
No side has suffered as many injuries as Leicester this season who are still missing key players such as Jamie Vardy, Jonny Evans and Wesley Fofana. However, Rodgers was able to welcome back impressive defender James Justin against Tottenham and the Leicester boss his hopeful their injury luck is about to turn.
‘It’s been unfortunate, when you look at all the clubs and the injuries, It’s been unfortunate across the board,’ said Rodgers. ‘We will get those guys back and really look to attack the second half of the season.’
The feelings are still raw from their incredible defeat on Wednesday night when Leicester led Spurs 2-1 with less than 30 seconds to play and had a goal-kick, only to lose 3-2 courtesy of a rapid double by substitute Steven Bergwijn.
The Foxes have been scuppered by injuries this season with Jamie Vardy among absentees
‘Football, like life, if you lose something that you have it can be very painful,’ said Rodgers. ‘Clearly in the game we were in a great position, seconds away from what would have been a great result. Then we lost it. It is painful, it is suffering, because it is such a big blow for us.
‘I said to the players that football is the University of Adversity. You learn to pick yourself up in football. If you don’t, you’re never going to push on. That is both coaches and players. When you are in this game, you know it is not an upward curve all the way.
‘The learning is that when the pain comes, and the suffering comes, that you react the right way. That is why I am here, to pick the players up, identify where we can be better.
‘Naturally it does hurt but that is the job and it is my responsibility. I think we have shown in the time we have been here that we have suffered we have been able to get back up and fight again. That is what’s important.’
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