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'Nowhere near Champions League level': Brendan Rodgers slams Leicester side after shock Bournemouth defeat

 

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Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers

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Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers was forthright in his assessment of the latest, and most shocking, chapter of Leicester City's recent collapse.

The Foxes have won just one of their six matches since the Premier League returned last month and now face the reality of missing out on Champions League football.

After a blistering start to the season saw Rodgers' side win 12 of their opening 16 league games, they looked certain to make it into Europe's flagship tournament.

At that stage in mid-December, they were 14 points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United.

Fast forward another 19 games and Leicester will be ousted from the top four tonight providing in-form United can see off Southampton at Old Trafford.

City have won only five of those 19 matches but the boss has no doubt that Sunday's 4-1 loss at relegation-threatened Bournemouth was the worst display of the lot, offering a straight-talking view of their European prospects.

"You see a performance like that in the second half and you're nowhere near Champions League level," he told the BBC after his side allowed their 1-0 half-time lead to be overhauled, helped by a red card for centre-half Caglar Soyuncu.

"We've been playing for 45 minutes. We had opportunities to make it more.

"But the second half, I've got to say I didn't see that coming. I've never seen that with the team. How we defend and how mentally strong we are. We were too soft."

Jamie Vardy had put the visitors ahead with his 23rd goal of the season but Bournemouth fought back with goals from Dominic Solanke (2), Junior Stanislas and and own-goal from Jonny Evans.

"You've got to grind it out sometimes and in that first 15 minutes (of the second half) we had to stick together and we did that but then we gave away the penalty and that changes the momentum," Rodgers continued.

"We lacked responsibility. It was very, very difficult for us. Even down to 10 men, we've got to be stronger than that.

"I haven't had any performances since I've been here in terms of that mentality.

"We're not experienced or consistent enough to worry about the Champions League. We have to worry about playing football. We did it for 45 minutes and for the other 45, it wasn't good enough."

The silver-lining for Leicester is the knowledge that their fate is still in their own hands. If they can manage to string together wins over Sheffield United on Thursday and Tottenham on Sunday, they could set up a winner-takes-all clash at home to Manchester United in their final game of the season.

Belfast Telegraph