Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has confessed that he does not know what the Europa Conference League is, despite the fact that his side will be playing in it come February.
The Foxes went into the final Europa League matchday top of an incredibly tight Group C. However, a 3-2 defeat to eventual runners-up Napoli meant they finished third.
They were almost handed a reprieve when Legia Warsaw were awarded a penalty in second-half stoppage time against Spartak Moscow. Had the Polish side scored the spot kick, Leicester would have claimed second place and progressed, but Tomas Pekhart’s effort was easily saved.
Leicester’s third-place finish has resigned them to playing in the Europa Conference League, and after the game Rodgers confessed that his knowledge of the competition was…patchy.
“I’ve got to be honest, I don’t even know what the competition is,” he said.
“In all fairness, I was focused on the Europa League and winning this group, or at the very least finishing second, so with all due respect to the competition, I’m not sure what it is. But I’m sure I will find out soon enough.”
Leicester will have to beat a side who finished second in the Conference League group stages if they want to progress to the round of 16. This means they could face a long trip to Maccabi Tel Aviv, Qarabag or FK Partizan.
The Foxes only have themselves to blame, though. Although defeat to a much-weakened Napoli side eventually sealed their fate, a home draw against Spartak and a woeful away defeat to Legia did far more damage to their hopes overall.
Rodgers was not impressed with his players on Thursday, but admitted that he needed to do more as a manager with Leicester faltering badly in the Premier League too.
“I think there’s loads of naivety in our team, a lot of young players, and obviously there has been a bigger demand for them this season,” he said.
“We’ve played a number of systems and shapes and individually it comes down to being able to have that mentality to track a runner or go with a runner or stop a cross. But it is my responsibility to find that solution. I felt we were good offensively but it’s nowhere near good enough.
“I said to the players ‘if we can just tighten up the gaps and do the other side of the game — do more to blocks shots and be more aggressive’. We’ve got to do more.”