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Shocking Leicester display raises serious questions about ability to handle pressure

Tom Gott
May 7, 2021, 10:20 PM GMT+1
Leicester are back in a top-four battle
Leicester are back in a top-four battle / Michael Regan/Getty Images
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Be honest, did you see this coming?

Leicester looked like they had done enough to avoid a nervy end to the season. They looked comfortable in third place. They were surely going to avoid succumbing to the same humiliation as last year, when they inexplicably dropped out of the top four late on.

And then they got thumped 4-2 by Newcastle. Newcastle. A Steve Bruce tactical masterclass.

As the game started, it didn't even feel like it was going to end up that way. For the first five minutes, Leicester were firmly in control, but as soon as Newcastle got a foot in the door, they completely fell apart.

At the back, where they were without the injured Jonny Evans, Leicester were utterly abysmal. Caglar Soyuncu seemed like he was going for the record of most needless errors, and somebody probably should have reminded Timothy Castagne that he wasn't supposed to be a wing-back anymore.

However, to blame the defenders for this would be unfair. Sure, they were atrocious, but everybody in Leicester blue was. Youri Tielemans couldn't pass, Wilfred Ndidi couldn't defend and the strike force of Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho couldn't get into the game. It was stunningly abysmal.

If you showed this to someone who hadn't kept up with football, they'd believe Leicester were the team slumped towards the bottom of the table and not the one on the brink of a spot in Europe's biggest competition. It was utterly shambolic from a side who claim to be infiltrating the so-called big six.

Caglar Soyuncu
Leicester completely fell apart / Michael Regan/Getty Images

The biggest concern for Leicester is not that this happened, but that this is the second time they've been here.

The demons of last season are well and truly alive for Leicester, whose disgusting performance has seen them drop into a top-four battle which they were never supposed to be in.

The door is now open for Chelsea to move ahead of them, while West Ham can go two points behind with a good result against Everton on Sunday. The fixture list is not Leicester's friend, either.

This was supposed to be the easy match for Brendan Rodgers' side, who must now dance with Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham before the end of the campaign. If they play like this, they'll lose all three.

Brendan Rogers
Rodgers must address this issue urgently / Michael Regan/Getty Images

For all the quality in Rodgers' team, this is an enormous concern. There must be serious questions asked behind closed doors about the player's mentality, because convincingly losing to a Newcastle side with one of the worst attacking records in the Premier League suggests they took their opponents lightly. Either that or Evans' importance to the team is far greater than anybody had imagined.

Will they get away with this flop? Only time will tell, but Rodgers must work out a solution immediately before they dig themselves a hole they can't get out of - again.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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