Brendan Rodgers must avoid another late Leicester collapse


After Leicester’s recent 3-2 defeat to West Ham at the London Stadium, those that support the Foxes may well be fearing that history is about to repeat itself. Last season, Brendan Rodgers navigated Leicester into a position where they were regarded as a dead cert to secure Champions League football the following campaign – only for their form to go off a cliff and them eventually finishing fifth on the final day.

After being third for a considerable amount of time, the King Power outfit were swallowed up by both Manchester United and Chelsea in the end and had to make do with the consolation prize of Europa League football instead.

Of course, a team like Leicester are challenging the status quo just by competing for the top four and, in some quarters, they were considered plucky for doing so. But having been in such a commanding position, it’s difficult to argue that Leicester lost their bottle and, despite the positive spin he tried to put on their fifth place finish, it was undeniably disappointing for Brendan Rodgers.

A sense of deja vu is now descending in the East Midlands, however, and if the same collapse is to happen almost 12 months later and Leicester suffer a late drop from the Champions League positions again, question will asked of Brendan Rodgers. When you look at the Norther Irishman’s record south of the border, there is a suggestion that perhaps he lacks the mental aptitude to get over the finishing line in these high pressured end of season races.

If we take his play-off success with Swansea in 2011 out of the equation, a worrying trend develops for the former Liverpool manager. Indeed it was at Anfield, which was arguably home to his biggest collapse of all.

Cast your mind back to 2014 and Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip in front of The Kop which allowed Chelsea’ Demba Ba to slot home at Anfield. It was a disaster for Rodgers and his players, but there was still time for even more anguish.

Just a week later at Selhurst Park, as the title hopefuls raced into a 3-0 lead against Crystal Palace and looked as though they would be level on points with Manchester City going into the final day of the season. Palace, though, mounted an incredible comeback and find three late goals to steal a draw and all but deny Liverpool the chance to win their first title since 1990.

The pain of losing the title in such a brutal manner is something that he never recovered from at Liverpool and 17 months later he was out of a job. A successful spell at Celtic got his career back on track but this was a stint in which there was little in the way of genuine rivals.

Fast forward a few season and the acumen of Brendan Rodgers at clubs beneath Hadrian’s Wall is under the microscope, because having overseen two monumental collapses, Leicester seem as though they could be on the verge of a third.

Should the worst happen, and Leicester are only granted another invite to European action on Thursday’s, there may need to be an awkward conversation and although, that does not necessarily mean a changing of the managerial guard, it may be a rather uneasy time for the 48-year-old.

When you consider just how lofty the Foxes’ ambitions are, and this is evident with the construction of their new training facility, they no longer want the attitude of just being happy to be there and mixing it with the biggest guns.

Because instead of bloodying the noses of the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, they want to be landing knockout blows and although they are more than capable of such a feat, it means nothing if they are constantly failing at the worst possible times.

Therefore, for all of Leicester’s apparent failings at this point of the season, perhaps there is a wider issue in all of this and an issue that suggests, their manager might not have the required nous to get a club over the line. Once is unlucky, twice is unfortunate, three times is nowhere near bad luck. Brendan Rodgers must save his Leicester season to avoid an unwanted bottler tag.

 


 

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