After Leicester's 6-3 defeat at Man City, Brendan Rodgers said: "There's no doubt this is a huge challenge. We're not getting the violins out. You see what we're missing. The players aren't available."
Monday 27 December 2021 08:52, UK
Brendan Rodgers admitted this is is the most challenging period of his managerial career after his injury-hit Leicester squad lost 6-3 at Manchester City.
Rodgers had to make six changes from Leicester's last Premier League win over Newcastle with Jonny Evans, Caglar Soyuncu, Harvey Barnes, Ricardo Pereira and Patson Daka being added to the lengthy injury list.
Rodgers also admitted that he could not call on either Jamie Vardy or Wilfred Ndidi despite both being named on the bench, whilst he also lost Ryan Bertrand to injury in the warm-up in the defeat at City.
When asked, Rodgers confirmed the situation is the most challenging period he has ever faced as a manager.
"It definitely is," he said.
"There's no doubt this is a huge challenge. We're not getting the violins out. You see what we're missing. The players aren't available.
"Offensively we're really good but if you're missing the players (we are) it's a real challenge.
"Take (Jonny) Evans, (Caglar) Soyuncu, (Ricardo) Pereira, James Justin and Wesley Fofana out of our squad then it's huge. We have to keep trying to find the solutions. We'll continue to fight. We competed at the top of the league disrupting everything when we had players available.
"The results are obviously disappointing but you have to look at the condition of the team and the players we have missing. We're not a deep enough squad, like a Manchester City, Liverpool or Chelsea, to be able to carry it out. But what I do expect is what I saw in the second half which was incredible spirit and quality when we had the opportunities."
Manchester City raced into a 4-0 lead inside 25 minutes at the Etihad Stadium but Rodgers tweaked his system at the break and Leicester sensationally got the game back to 4-3 after three goals in 10 minutes, but two late City goals took the game back in their favour. The result means Leicester have only won three of their last 12 games across all competitions with only two clean sheets in their last 25 matches.
"It was a difficult start to the game for us, really disappointed with the penalty, really soft, so that was frustrating," Rodgers added.
"We came in at half-time, the scoreline for me didn't reflect the game. We had eight shots, they had nine, but we were 4-0 down. We were in a tough position, but we make a change, and then we challenge the players in the second half to win the second half, bring us closer to their goals, we have to show the mentality and character that is in this team.
"We never unravelled, that could have been an easy thing to do, down 4-0 to the champions but the players didn't do that. We played some incredible football, disappointing to concede from a set-piece but we had two big chances at 5-3. Conceding two penalties and two from set-pieces is disappointing."
Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City were never in control against Leicester after a frantic Boxing Day contest.
The victory was City's ninth in succession and opened up a six-point lead at the top of the table, but Guardiola conceded he could hardly breathe easily.
The Spaniard said: "It was a rollercoaster, a typical Boxing Day (game) with a lot of goals. For everyone it was an entertaining game.
"It's another victory, so important to continue our run, but it was weird. Even at 4-0 in the first half, every time they had the ball they arrived in the final third and created chances.
"The game was open even at 4-0. It was not closed. They are big club with a lot of quality and in the second half they changed the shape.
"We know the quality they have in the build-up. They have a top, top side and we know they have been good in the last years. They have always been so difficult and they have an exceptional manager.
"How clever it was to change shape and they created a lot of problems.
"At 4-2 the mindset of the players changed and at 4-3 the game was close to being equalised, or even (them) winning the game, because their mindset was high and we had doubts.
"But we were patient and we had chances, and from set-pieces we won the game."