Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has apologised to the club’s fans and blasted his side’s attitude for their “collapse” in Sunday’s 4-1 loss to relegation battlers Bournemouth.
The defeat extends fourth-placed Leicester City’s poor run of form and leaves their aspirations to qualify for the UEFA Champions League in limbo, with fifth-placed Manchester United to leapfrog them if they defeat Southampton on Monday.
The Foxes have only won once in six matches since the Premier League restart, collecting only six points in the process to slide from third place.
Leicester’s poor run has actually extended back to January, managing only three wins from their past 14 matches in the league, opening the door for Chelsea and the Red Devils in the race for the top four.
Sunday’s loss came after they appeared in control against a side out of form and battling the drop, with Jamie Vardy scoring a 23rd minute opener.
Rodgers labelled the Foxes’ final 30 minutes as a “collapse” allowing four goals, including two in two minutes to go from 1-0 up to 2-1 down, with Caglar Soyuncu sent off in the process.
“Listen, first of all, I apologise to the supporters,” Rodgers said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had to do that in my time here.
“We’ve always been a tough team, mentally and physically, and tried to then play football, but to collapse like we did in the second half was bitterly disappointing.
“First half, we had control of the game, scored a goal, looked like we were the threat and then second half, you expect a challenge from them.
“We didn’t take responsibility when we were defending and when we had the ball. You’ve got to play for 90 minutes.
“We didn’t show anywhere near the level that you need to, both with the ball and defensively. Performance-wise, the attitude was not so good.”
Third-placed Chelsea lost 3-0 at Sheffield United on Saturday, so they remain one point ahead of the Foxes, while in-form United can go past them both if they beat Southampton.
The Red Devils are currently on 58 points with Monday’s game in hand, behind Chelsea (60) and Leicester (59) who have three matches to play. Leicester and United are due to meet on the final day.
Before then, Rodgers knows Leicester needs to rectify their form, starting with a tough fixture at home to seventh-placed Sheffield United who are in the hunt for Europe.
“It’s not a happy changing room and it shouldn’t be, because that is not acceptable, to deliver that level, especially when you work so well,” Rodgers said.
“(Sheffield United) will be a great challenge for us because we need to show a greater level of physicality and mentality. That’ll be a really good test.
“We had a great result at Bramall Lane earlier in the season and now this is a game where we’ve really got to show our mettle and look to get working again.”
Elsewhere on Sunday, struggling Aston Villa also breathed life into their survival hopes with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Both Villa (30 points) and Bournemouth (31) remain in the bottom three, but have narrowed the gap on West Ham and Watford who are both on 34 points in 16th and 17th respectively.
Sixth-placed Wolverhampton eased past Everton 3-0 to stay in the Champions League hunt, while Tottenham got past North London rivals Arsenal 2-1 to all but send their European ambition.