Brendan Rodgers has admitted this is the busiest time of his managerial career after his injury-stricken Leicester side lost 6-3 to Manchester City.
Rodgers has had to make six changes since Leicester’s last Premier League win over Newcastle with Jonny Evans, Caglar Soyuncu, Harvey Barnes, Ricardo Pereira and Patson Daka being added to the long list of injuries.
Rodgers also admitted that he could not call either Jamie Vardy or Wilfred Ndidi despite both being named to the bench, while he also lost Ryan Bertrand to injury in the warm-up in the defeat to City.
When asked, Rodgers confirmed that the situation is the most difficult time he has ever faced as a manager.
“It definitely is,” he said.
“There is no doubt that this is a great challenge. We are not pulling out the violins. See what we are missing. The players are not available.
“In attack we are very good but if there are no players (us) it is a real challenge.
“Take (Jonny) Evans, (Caglar) Soyuncu, (Ricardo) Pereira, James Justin and Wesley Fofana out of our team, then it’s huge. We have to keep trying to find solutions. We will keep fighting. We competed to the top of the team. championship interrupting everything when we had players available.
“The results are obviously disappointing but we have to look at the condition of the team and the players we lack. We are not a strong enough squad, like a Manchester City, a Liverpool or a Chelsea, to be able to complete it. But what I expect is what I saw in the second half, an incredible spirit and quality when we had the opportunities. “
Manchester City took the lead 4-0 in 25 minutes at Etihad Stadium, but Rodgers changed his system at half-time and Leicester resoundingly restored the game to 4-3 after three goals in 10 minutes, but two goals of the City in the final led the game. back in their favor. The result means that Leicester have only won three of their last 12 games in all competitions with only two goalless goals in their last 25 games.
“It was a difficult start for us, really disappointed with the penalty, very soft, so it was frustrating,” added Rodgers.
“We entered the interval, the result for me did not reflect the game. We had eight shots, they nine, but we were down 4-0. We were in a difficult position, but we make a change, and then we challenge the players in the second half to winning the second half, getting closer to their goals, we have to show the mentality and character that is in this team.
“We never unraveled, it could have been an easy thing to do, the champions down 4-0, but the players didn’t. We played incredible football, disappointing to take on set pieces, but we had two great chances at 5-3. Hitting two penalties and two free kicks is a disappointment. “
Pep: We have never been in control despite the 6-3 win
Pep Guardiola admitted that Manchester City never had control of Leicester after a hectic Boxing Day match.
The win was City’s ninth in a row and opened a six-point lead at the top of the table, but Guardiola admitted he could hardly breathe easily.
The Spaniard said: “It was a roller coaster, a typical Boxing Day (match) with lots of goals. For everyone it was a fun game.
“It is another victory, so important to continue our race, but it was strange. Even at the 4-0 of the first half, every time they had the ball they came in the third final and created chances.
“The game was also open at 4-0. It didn’t end. They are great clubs with a lot of quality and in the second half they changed form.
“We know the quality they have in building. They have a top team and we know they have been good in recent years. They have always been so tough and they have an exceptional coach.
“How smart it was to change shape and they created a lot of problems.
At 4-2 the mentality of the players changed and at 4-3 the game was close to a draw, or even (them) to victory, because their mentality was high and we had doubts.
“But we were patient and we had chances, and on set pieces we won the game.”