Leicester City suffered heartbreak on the final day of the Premier League season, but they can still hold their heads high.
It was the second season in the row that Brendan Rodgers’ side have spent virtually the entire season in the top four, only to just drop out at the final hurdle.
With Chelsea losing to Aston Villa, a win would have been enough to secure a top-four finish, but they ultimately crumbled and squandered the lead twice in a 4-2 defeat to Tottenham.
Leicester have spent 242 days in the top four this season, more than another side – including champions Manchester City – and yet still managed to slip up.
There is still some good news though, as they ended the season as the FA Cup winners and will still have the Europa League to look forward to next campaign.
Leicester’s Best Wasn’t Enough…Again!
Brendan Rodgers has done a brilliant job at Leicester City this season. The Irishman led his side to a maiden FA Cup victory last week. Despite that, it would be heartbreaking for the Foxes to miss out on a top-4 finish despite their consistent performances all season.
Taking into consideration the hard work put in all season, challenge from rivals clubs and having to overcome some injury problems.
It is important to note this is the second time in a row the foxes are having to go through such disappointment, and it begs the question if they can have the mental strength to go for it again next season.
Ranger’s legend McCoist had this to say about Leicester “It’s a brilliant season tinged with a bit of disappointment”.
“It would have been a phenomenal season had they finished in the top four. I think it’s only a very good one, as crazy as that may sound.
“Some of the scenes after the game at Wembley with Chelsea after Tielemans’ goal were just remarkable, with the owner hugging the cup like a baby.
“Obviously, everybody’s thoughts were elsewhere with the tragedy that happened a few years prior to it. “It would be wrong not to mention the disappointment of not finishing in the top four. They had a massive opportunity.
“Is it tinged with a little bit of disappointment? Of course. We all want more and every success that is available to us. “I stand by it, Brendan Rodgers has done a fantastic job and his team should be very, very proud of their season.”
Brendan Rodgers Staying Positive
Rodgers admitted he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ by Leicester’s final position in that has been – on the whole – an impressive season for the Foxes.
But the Northern Irishman was trying to focus on the positives.
“I feel emotional now that we have just missed out but that motivates me, even more, to be here and to try to help the club and push them up towards that level,” said the boss, who publicly rejected links to the Tottenham job.
“I’m bitterly disappointed, it hurts at the minute and probably will for a few days but I know when l look back over the season and reflect on what players have given I will have great pride in what they have achieved.
“We have just missed out at the very end but we created history and we keep making steps forward.
“We have been playing football for two years. When we started we were probably a mid-table team but now we are challenging the elite teams in the division and we can fight for trophies and we have won one.
“Huge effort and we have to take medicine but we will be ready to come back, push, fight again and have another push.”
To call it a failure is extreme and a little soap opera, the reason these top four are so strong isn’t just because they’re the richest and biggest and best. It’s because of how that plays out over a season: the squad depth, the resilience, and flexibility that comes along with it.
What Makes These “Elite” Teams Different
That’s why City can whip up a new, best-in-continent way of playing on the fly after discovering that pandemic football is a different problem.
That’s why Liverpool, with a defence made up of two rotating doors, can pull themselves into the top four on the back of their goalscoring and Nat Phillips’ big headers and Jurgen Klopp’s big hugs.
That’s why Chelsea can switch manager, tactics, and approach mid-season, and ride Jorginho’s penalties back to par.
Big clubs bounce back better because they’ve paid for all the added features: heated seats, tinted windows, and a Diogo Jota to go with the best front three in the league.
So as much as it’s tempting to ascribe this to some inherent weakness in Brendan Rodgers’s teams, a psychic brittleness deep at the heart of his methods, we could just as easily say that falling away at the end of the season is what happens when clubs that don’t quite have the resources reach the end of a long campaign.
Everybody’s just that little bit more knackered, and all the alternatives are just that little bit less effective.
To be a big club is to be able to ride out a crisis without having to entirely tear things down and rebuild from scratch. This isn’t to downplay the scale of Liverpool’s collapse — they’ve given up 30 points on last season — or City’s achievement. Or to say that Leicester couldn’t have held on to the Champions League spot: just don’t lose to Newcastle, lads. But even if they had, next season would have seen all the big clubs come again.