Brendan Rodgers

Defensively Very Disappointing, Says Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers says defensive issues are costing Leicester City dearly following Thursday's UEFA Europa League exit in Naples.
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- Leicester City exited the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening
- The Foxes were beaten 3-2 by Napoli at at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on matchday six
- Manager Brendan Rodgers explained his frustration at City's defensive performance
- He also offered his thanks to the Club's supporters who travelled to southern Italy

The Foxes were two goals down against Napoli after 24 minutes at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, after goals from Adam Ounas and Eljif Elmas, but strikes from Jonny Evans and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall restored parity at the break. A second-half second for Elmas, though, settled the clash.

It means Leicester end the campaign in third place in Group C on eight points. They will be compete in the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League in the New Year, but Rodgers made no attempt to hide his disappointment at full-time in southern Italy. 

"I thought [we saw] two sides of our game," he told LCFC TV. "Firstly, defensively, we were very disappointing. You can’t need having to score three and four goals to win football matches. It’s just the basics of the games; getting onto the second balls, stopping crosses, running, showing heart in your defending.

We know, as well, we have a resilience in the team, but it really eats away at your confidence if you don’t do that side of it. That dirty side. Unfortunately, you’re not going to win games, especially big games, if you don’t do that.

Brendan Rodgers LCFC TV

"Unfortunately for us, it’s costing us. Offensively, we were really bright, really good. There was two sides the game and the defending side, which is fundamentally a really important side, was nowhere near that.

"You’ve got to do your job. You’ve got to do your job on the field. You’ve got to go where it hurts. As I said, it was great spirit, we know we have that. We know, as well, we have a resilience in the team, but it really eats away at your confidence if you don’t do that side of it - that dirty side.

"Unfortunately, you’re not going to win games, especially big games, if you don’t do that."

Reflecting on the group stage as a whole - and commenting on City's upcoming appearance in the Europa Conference League - Rodgers added: "It’s not been good enough. Our objective was to qualify, to win the group, and if we didn’t win it, come second, and we haven’t done that.

We could hear them all night. The weather conditions have been horrendous. I’m sure the journey out was really, really tough for them. We wanted to give them something to celebrate out here this evening and unfortunately we didn’t do that.

Brendan Rodgers LCFC TV

"[The Europa Conference League] is not the competition we wanted to be in. We’ll just have to go away and be ready for that when it comes around. Certainly, by the time it comes around, we need to be defending much better."

Six-hundred Foxes fans were in Naples on Thursday night, continuing a trend of the Blue Army going to considerable lengths to back the Club on the continent in spite of several logistical hurdles. 

"It’s a massive thank you because they’ve been amazing," he continued. "We could hear them all night. The weather conditions have been horrendous. I’m sure the journey out was really, really tough for them. We wanted to give them something to celebrate out here this evening and unfortunately we didn’t do that."

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