Rob Tanner from The Athletics describes this season as a reality check for Brendan Rodgers. Former Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri got the sack at Watford yesterday after just three months in charge. Ranieri himself put the bullet to OGS that made his Manchester United departure.
No one can rest on their laurels not even a week. Brendan Rodgers has so far two wins out of two against Watford this season and fantastic results at home vs. Manchester United and Liverpool. But also struggles with a lot of injury and far from an acceptable situation in the league.
Brendan Rodgers knew the picture and expecatations when joining Leicester. He had seen Claudio Ranieri, Craig Shakespeare and Claude Puel lose key players as they struggled to close gaps. Brendan has been able to close gaps after Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell but will he manage to keep it up as his best players depart?
A club that year by year sell off their best assets will in real be reduced to a difficult place. Getting a new face in to shine either from the academy or from a buy from somewhere else is always a difficult act.
Leicester did keep their best players this summer and we all hoped for a grand lift and potentially getting that fourth PL spot secured, but instead we have seen a decline. Still possible to go all the way in the FA Cup and Europa Conference, so it could all end on a high.
We do feel that Brendan Rodgers does have a number of strange philosophies and cannot say we agree with those ideas. With the amount of money he earn to be the manager of Leicester City we would have hoped for something better. He has a different philosophy and approach than many other managers, as we earlier said exposing players to more injuries with surprises in system changes and use of players. We believe that Leicester is better off with a strict plan and drilling of a known and secure system, probably getting fewer injuries as his tactics makes it harder to adjust from every change.
A few notes to take to the table as we do hope form and stabilty will be improved;
- Sweden qualify to almost every Euro’s and World Cup’s and their success is based on system and player continuity. They are a small nation compared to the England’s, Italy’s and Germany’s. The use of Seb Larsson and Anders Svensson talks for itself and they rate highly, experience, system knowledge, player relations and work on defensive drills. Leadership is far more important than massive rotations and change. Rodgers do change his system too much and has seen his most experienced outfield players being injured and absent without really having control of the balance of his squad and player use. From time to time, so does a lot of other managers, but with this type of juggle you will not get the best out of your team and the way Brendan Rodgers likes to play and playing out from the back and keeping possession, this is not to understand as he likes to play with the ball to the floor and not be counter attacking and not really mirroring the opponent. If you change systems and you have drilled your team and build your squad to another set up, and also winning and having great results with a 4-3-3 set up, why are you using something else that you have not trained and drilled enough to win against better teams. Love to see a team playing week in and week out in the preferred set up, learning and drilling that to the best of your ability. A key fact is to add players to your squad that in forehand knows how you play and have a past from that type of play.
- Game plan
- Against Brighton BR decided to make a change very early on with a 1-0 lead. The team had full controll and it was no need to make those moves, certainly BR must have a game plan prepared for certain scenarios, being 1-0 up and with almost 30 minutes left of the game, you do not make changes, but if he reacts on fear and instinct and suddenly decide to defend then this is done without considering the game plan from start. He also changed again late in the game going for five in defence and ripping the rythm apart surely not a game plan act either.
- Use of players
- Harvey Barnes is a player that at his best will be a game changer for Leicester and to see him rested and taken off the field makes it difficult to understand what type of plan BR has for one of his best players with huge potential. Jannik Vestergaard why did Leicester sign him?, he either needs a speedy partner in central defense and is best used in a three men back line with two other pacy men around him and with a flank midfielder on his side. So sad to see a good footballer as Jannik Vestergaard used so badly. That to say, Leicester should not build their team on and around Jannik Vestergaard, he is just a massive miss match to what Brendan Rodgers is trying to do at Leicester.
- Approach to football
- Instead of being a coward at times and trying to bring games to bed with a defensive approach starting too early with substitutions giving away leads and possession. You cannot stop playing when half of the game is left, despite having a lead, instead attack attack and attack to get a second goal which would be the obvious. This season Leicester have given away leads without having the correct game plan in place.
- Defensive work inside the penalty box
- Not good enough in man marking and keeping away players who block areas. You need to take out those players trying to block areas and not just watching the ball, be able to stop other teams from giving space to their best headers. This is easy but players needs to be consentrated and knowing their job. If you decide to just use zonal marking also on corners and set pieces then this must be worked on and every relation in there among the players must be based on a settled system.
- The team lack leaders on the field with Evans and Vardy out!
- Kasper Schmeichel is the captain, but he is a goalkeeper, and no player are taking the responsibilty they should as a major outfield captain will do. Difficult with so many injured and absent players but surely Wes Morgan is missed and of course Jamie Vardy and Jonny Evans.
- Transfers and rating of players
- Dennis Praet left the club on loan, Nampalys Mendy was left out of the squad, both players with great routine and at this moment would have given the squad more depth. Praet vs. Dewsbury-Hall, Mendy vs. Soumare or Choudhury. Praet and Mendy are both adapted to Premier League football. Dewsbury-Hall is a grand talent and so is Soumare but not yet been there to secure wins for Leicester. Choudhury is a bit on and off being difficult to judge and still not trusted.
To see Brendan Rodgers trying to talk down the ambitions is not fun to look at, and when he manage to bring the club to the table of trophies, he looks as if it does not really matter much, but that is Brendan Rodgers. Why should he talk like he does when he has seen for himself that his team and he himself have a number of scalps of great importance over the last year, winning against Chelsea (FA Cup final), Man City (Community Shield), Man Utd (PL) and Liverpool (PL), no need to talk down anything, just go for it and don’t sulk, you have a team of players that can achieve and bring great results to the table, you do it and so please continue.
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