Football: Rodgers 'hugely disappointed' as Leicester fail to make Champions League

Brendan Rodgers reacts at the end of the match between Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur on May 23, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

LEICESTER (REUTERS) - Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers could not hide his disappointment after his side were edged out of the Premier League top four on the final day for the second season in succession after a 4-2 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday (May 23).

His side have spent a total of 242 days in the top four this season, even more than champions Manchester City, but ended up in fifth spot, meaning they will play in the Europa League rather than the lucrative Champions League next season.

"It's hugely disappointing for us. We fought so hard all season. I always said you're judged after 38 games and unfortunately we couldn't quite make it," Rodgers said.

"I have nothing but pride and admiration for the players. They've constantly had things go against them with injuries. If you look at the importance of the players out today, we were able to take it down to the last game and the last 15 minutes."

Jamie Vardy's two penalties had seen Leicester lead 1-0 and 2-1 but Tottenham struck three times late on.

To rub salt into the wound, Chelsea lost at Aston Villa which meant a win for Leicester would have been enough.

Rodgers said the loss of defender Wesley Fofana in the first half because of injury had left them vulnerable, especially with injured talisman Jonny Evans also unavailable.

Leicester have also suffered with injuries to the likes of Harvey Barnes and James Maddison this season and the toll caught up with them in the league run-in.

"I said to the players before the game, we've been playing non-stop - except for 21 days - for two years," added Rodgers.

"When we started work together, we were mid-table and just over two years later, we're challenging the elite and won the FA Cup for the first time in our history and we're on the right path without the resources (of other teams).

"I have nothing but pride. The ownership have given me amazing support. The players have given me their hearts and souls every day. I'm so disappointed for them we couldn't get over the line. We'll prepare even harder for next season."

Rodgers said the onus would be on strengthening the squad in the close season.

"We want to strengthen the top end of the field, we need more a goal threat," he said. "We need a little more physicality in the team and want to bring in more players who have that winning feeling, add that to a group of talented players.

"I'm really excited about the period ahead."

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