Leicester's Rodgers takes blame for Europa League exit


Soccer Football - Europa League - Round of 32 Second Leg - Leicester City v Slavia Prague - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - February 25, 2021 Slavia Prague's Abdallah Sima celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

(Reuters) - Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers shouldered the blame for his side's shock exit from the Europa League after Thursday's 2-0 home loss to Slavia Prague but said the competition was never his top priority.

With the score tied at 0-0 from the first leg in Prague, Lukas Provod and Abdallah Sima scored in the second half at the King Power Stadium to put the Czech side into the last-16.

Rodgers made a number of changes to the side that beat Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday, with Harvey Barnes, Timothy Castagne and Ricardo Pereira dropping to the bench, while Youri Tielemans was deployed in a more advanced position.

Rodgers said his team selection had backfired.

"It's my responsibility. I pick the team to try to get the result and that clearly didn't work as well as I would have liked," Rodgers said.

"We've changed the team often because we've carried injuries all year ... we had to find a way to freshen up the team. I would still expect us to do better but when you're missing the players we are, that's going to affect the quality of your game.

"There are no excuses ...It wasn't to be. The best team won."

Rodgers said his players would now shift focus to the Premier League and FA Cup.

"If we had to prioritise, those would be the two we would want to succeed in," he said. "The Europa League was one we wanted to do well in, it wasn't to be, but now we can go all-in in the league and FA Cup."

Leicester, who are third in the Premier League on 49 points, host Arsenal on Sunday.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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