Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has warned that Sunday’s heavy FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest could signal the end for some players who ‘may have achieved everything they can’.
The Foxes lost 4-1 to their East Midlands neighbours, going 3-0 down in just over half an hour, and Rodgers admitted it is the first time he has been ‘embarrassed’ by a performance since being hired.
Leicester won the FA Cup last season and finished fifth in the Premier League for the second year in a row. But they have struggled to replicate that success in 2021/22 and the weekend’s FA Cup exit only compounds an already poor recent run in the Premier League and asks serious questions.
Rodgers said he is giving serious thought to the respective futures of various players and is asking them to now prove that they actually deserve to stay at the club.
“Our players have to look at themselves in the mirror and prove they are good enough to be here. A lot of players have to improve,” he warned.
“It was an awful performance. I have to apologise to the fans. We needed physicality and authority and lacked it. There was a lack of hunger and you get destabilised when you make errors. That’s the first time since I’ve been here that I was embarrassed.
“There are a lot of these players, between now and the end of the season, who need to prove that they are still worthy of being here, because we’ve seen it now for a little while.
“There are those that may have achieved everything that they can. It’s something we’ll have to look at between now and the end of the season. Until then, they’ve got to have a look at themselves in the mirror and fight like hell to prove they’re good enough to be here.
“We talk about it all the time. The club had a chapter where it won the Premier League, the FA Cup – a two-and-a-half-year spell. That’s why a lot of these players are not top players, because they can’t sustain it. When you can’t quite get there, and your time could be up. They bolstered their legend as players. They won the FA Cup, and that might be it.
“But it’s not for me, and not what I want to achieve here and do here. For some, it’s maybe everything they could have ever dreamt of.
“Too many players think they’re top players, but they’re a long way off it. I said to the players after that, for the first time since I’ve been here I’ve been embarrassed. It was an embarrassing performance. I feel for the supporters.”
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