Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers held his hands up and said his team selection did not pay off as his side were deservedly knocked out of the Europa League.
Brendan Rodgers said “Youri’s clearly better when he’s deeper as he allows us to play it through to the front players. I was trying to get the creative player in that forward position to feed Jamie (Vardy). It’s my responsibility. I pick the team to try to get the result and that clearly didn’t work as well as I would have liked. We’ve changed the team often enough, so we’ve had to be able to do that. The players returning from injury, they’ve been playing non-stop and we had to freshen up the team. I would expect us to do better but when you’re missing the players we are, it has an effect. There are no excuses. The best team won.”
With Rodgers admitting that Slavia were much the better team on the night, he said his side could now focus on the Premier League and FA Cup, which he said were the club’s two priorities this season.
Brendan Rodgers said “ Over the two legs, we didn’t create enough. We had to be patient but we never created many opportunities and when you don’t do that, you’re not going to score. I was disappointed with the goal, particularly the second goal. We’ve got to defend with a greater intensity, that aggression wasn’t there. They were better than us. It’s a disappointment of course, but we have to learn from it. We can accept it a lot easier because we weren’t good enough. The next two competitions we will fight for. We will reflect honestly and that allows us to respond. We’ve enjoyed the European experience. If we can get into Europe next year, we’ll look to do better.” If we had to prioritise, they (the Premier League and the FA Cup) were the two we would want to do well in. We wanted to do well in the Europa League, but now we can focus on the Premier League and FA Cup.”
Rodgers moved Youri Tielemans forward to cope with the absence of the injured James Maddison amid four changes from the win at Aston Villa, but the Belgian was unable to stamp his mark on the game, and City were second best in nearly every department. They failed to create any serious chances, while lacked aggression at the back, allowing Lukas Provod and Abdallah Sima to send Slavia Prague into the last 16. As for the other changes, with Timothy Castagne, Ricardo Pereira, and Harvey Barnes dropping to the bench, Rodgers said he had to freshen up his side, who he believes have proven they can cope with the chopping and changing over the course of the season.
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