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Brendan Rodgers accepts blame for Europa League exit

Leicester were knocked out of the Europa League in the last-32 by Slavia Prague.

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers took the blame for the Foxes' meek Europa League exit to Slavia Prague.

Second-half goals from Lukas Provod and Abdallah Sima helped Slavia deservedly win 2-0 on the night and on aggregate to reach the last 16.

Rodgers, who was missing the injured James Maddison and banned Kelechi Iheanacho, started with 13-goal Harvey Barnes on the bench with Youri Tielemans in a more advanced position but admitted his decisions failed to pay off.

Leicester were dumped out of the Europa League by Slavia Prague
Leicester were dumped out of the Europa League by Slavia Prague (Nick Potts/PA)

He said: "It's my responsibility, I pick the team with the players we have available and clearly it didn't work as well as I would have liked.

"We have changed the team often enough through the season because we've carried injuries all year. The players are coming back from injury, we had to find a way to freshen up the team.

"Overall, they were better than us and deserved to go through. We have to go away and learn from that.

"We started pretty well, we had to be patient, but we never really created too many opportunities. I'm disappointed with the goals, in particular the second one – we have to defend with greater urgency.

Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers has not got beyond this stage of the competition in five attempts (Nick Potts/PA)

"It's disappointing but I said to the players afterwards we have to learn from it. We can accept it a lot easier as we weren't good enough on the night and over the two legs.

"We'll get back in, move on and we've enjoyed the European experience and we want to fight this year and be better next year."

Rodgers was appointed Leicester boss two years ago on Friday but it was an unhappy anniversary for a manager who has never reached the last 16 of the competition in five attempts.

Leicester never seriously tested Ondrej Kolar, only Cengiz Under's early low cross troubling the goalkeeper, and Slavia grew in confidence after a patient approach to the last-32 second leg following last week's 0-0 draw in Prague.

It paid off four minutes after the break when Provod arrived unmarked at the far post to volley in Nicolae Stanciu's cross.

The goal further dented Leicester's confidence and Slavia settled the tie with 11 minutes left after more poor defending from the hosts.

Peter Olayinka picked out Sima and with Caglar Soyuncu's half-hearted attempt to block his shot, the striker found the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Slavia boss Jindrich Trpisovsky said: "The difference between the teams is incredible, it's a sporting miracle. I would compare us winning here to Leicester winning the league.

"It's a different league for us. I've asked my team to realise what they've achieved and I don't think it's sunk in yet.

"It was similar to the first game, we got better as the time went on.

"We were able to start attacking more and more. The quality of the pitch was second-to-none for us and we had to get used to it but once we did we got faster.

"Our performance reflected that. Leicester played brilliantly, they were a great team, everything was great and the only thing missing were the fans."

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta in the Europa League on February 18, 2021
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