The manager of Leicester City, Brendan Rodgers has admitted that he does not know anything about the Europa Conference League which his team has been relegated to.
On Thursday night, December 9, Rodgers led Leicester City to Italy to take on Napoli in a must-win Europa League match. Unfortunately for the Premier League club, Napoli won 3-2.
The defeat ended Brendan Rodgers’ dream of leading Leicester City to the next stage of the competition as his team finished 3rd with 8 points in 6 games, two points behind second-placed Napoli, and two points behind first-placed Spartak Moscow.
Leicester City had a bad run in the Europa League group stage as they managed to win two games, drew two, and lost two. The performance was not enough to keep Brendan Rodgers and his boys in the second tier of European club competition.
Hence, they have been relegated to the third tier of the continent’s club competition, the Europa Conference League, which is in its first edition.
The Europa Conference League was established to allow more clubs to play European club football, especially clubs from countries that hardly qualify for the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League. However, English clubs have some spots up for grabs in the competition.
For Leicester City that just dropped out of the Europa League, they will have to go through a play-off round in February 2022 before they can get into the new UEFA competition fully.
After the 3-2 defeat at the hands of Napoli that sent the Premier League side down to the third tier league, coach Brendan Rodgers said he was so busy with Europa League that he did not pay attention to what the Conference League is about.
“I have to be honest – I don’t even know what the competition is in all fairness. I was focused on the Europa League and winning this group”, Rodgers told BT Sport.
“At the very least, finishing second so with all due respect to the competition, I’m not sure what it is. I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough.”
"I've got to be honest, I don't even know what the competition is.— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 9, 2021
"I was focused on the Europa League, winning this group, at the very least finishing second."
Brendan Rodgers admits Leicester must defend better as they prepare to enter the #UECL pic.twitter.com/lsKOhQLd9Q
During the match which was Leicester City’s last chance of qualifying for the next round of the Europa League, Brendan Rodgers and his boys started the night on a bad note.
Napoli took the lead as early as in the 4th minute and doubled the lead in the 24th minute. But Leicester City were able to get back into the game with goals in the 27th and the 33rd minutes.
Napoli’s Elif Elmas who scored the club’s second goal, scored the match-winner in the 53rd minute to give the Italian club the three maximum points that helped them qualify for the next round of the Europa League.
On the performance of Leicester City, Rodgers said: “I think there’s a lot of naivety in our team and we’ve got a lot of young players. There’s been a bigger demand from them this season, and we’ve played several different systems and shapes. Individually it then comes down to having that mentality to track our runner or to stop across.
“That can be in whatever shape it is, but it’s my responsibility to find that solution. Tonight, we were good offensively but we were nowhere good enough defensively. I said to the players [at half-time] if we could just tighten up the gaps, and do the dirty side of the game.
“We’ve got to do more to block the shot for their first goal from their first attack. We needed to be more aggressive, the second goal we jump at the wrong time and that opens up the space and for the third goal, you’ve got to track the runner and stop the cross. These are the basics of the game we aren’t doing so well.”
Leicester City will now turn their attention to the Premier League where they have also been struggling. Their next league game is scheduled to take place on Sunday, December 12, against Newcastle United.
Leicester are currently sitting on the 11th spot with 19 points in 15 games, 8 points away from 4th placed West Ham United.