After two seasons of challenging for Champions League qualification, the 2021/22 campaign was a disappointing one for Leicester City.
Indeed, the Foxes were only able to finish eighth, meaning they missed out on European football altogether as Brendan Rodgers’ team faltered in both the Europa League and Europa Conference League.
Rodgers must now prove that he is still the right man for the job at the King Power Stadium.
The Northern Irishman was unable to evolve his teams at his last two clubs, Celtic and Liverpool, and now he must do so at Leicester City to point them in the right direction again.
This coming season will be one of the most important of Rodgers’ managerial career to date.
Some new additions must be made to replenish a squad that had its limitations exposed last season.
The likes of Hamza Choudhury, Ayoze Perez and Jannik Vestergaard could be sold to raiser funds, but any money spent this summer must be invested smartly and in areas of the team that truly need it.
Leicester City were defensively vulnerable last season and so it would be logical if the Foxes focused their transfer window efforts on players that could help them address this.
Rodgers has promised that Leicester will be better defending set pieces next season, but they might not currently have the players to achieve this.
Rotation was one of the things that prevented Leicester City from finding any sort of consistency last season.
With no European football, Rodgers won’t have to worry so much about keeping players fresh, but he must find a system that works best for his group and stick with it long enough to build something.
“It’s the only upside to not being in Europe, that you do get the chance to go again,” Rodgers said after the end of last season when asked whether finishing eighth might come with some benefits.
“It’s similar to when I first came in. You’ve got that great body of work you can put in place and reset everything, including the behaviours off the pitch. That structure is important.
“The ability to then involve [Leicester chairman] in the process and everything about the fabric of this club, that was so important to me in my first summer in here.
“There was a cause for us to fight for when I first came in, we created that. It’s resetting all of that off the pitch as well as on the pitch. I always said, one game a week is a holiday, but let’s hope it’s a good holiday and we can really push on again.”
In many ways, Rodgers has become a victim of his own overachievement.
The Northern Irishman squeezed the most out of his Leicester City squad to even get them within touching distance of the top four, and the Champions League, but this has set a level of expectation that the Foxes were unable to maintain last season.
And yet Leicester City showed after winning the Premier League title in 2016 that they can be ruthless to keep moving forward – Claudio Ranieri was sacked only a few months after lifting the trophy.
Rodgers could suffer a similar fate if the Foxes’ ownership feel the club is no longer heading in the right direction.
Rodgers’ own reputation could be on the line this season. There’s no doubting the 49-year-old’s ability to make an immediate impact at a club, but he has previously struggled to maintain a managerial cycle over three seasons.
The Foxes need something different and Rodgers must prove he’s the man to give them that.
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