Leicester were knocked out of the 3rd round of the FA Cup after their shock loss to Newport County by 2-1 at the weekend. And the blame game should be directed at Leicester’s manager Claude Puel.
Puel made wholesale changes to his normal Premier League squad with the biggest gap being upfront with the omission of Jamie Vardy. One can only wonder why Puel has not respected the FA Cup?
Of course back in 2016 Leicester shocked everyone when they won the Premier League, something that we are not likely to see again for a very long while. But realistically speaking when the likes of a team like Leicester start the season, they are usually not going to win the league.
There are three competitions that they can win, the league, FA Cup and Carabao Cup, and only the cup competitions give teams like Leicester a realistic chance of winning. Their Carabao Cup hopes were fought with more pride but they went out at the quarter final stage against Manchester City on penalties which was very unfortunate given that they would have played Burton Albion in the semi finals- then again if they cannot Newport…..
But this match was a real shocker for them. It is one thing going out of a cup competition against the champions of England quite another against Newport. But what was Puel thinking, not to take this game seriously?
Leicester are currently 7th in the league but they are almost 20 points behind 4th place and will not be finishing in a Champions League position. At the other end they are almost 20 points from the bottom three and will not be getting relegated, so why didn’t Puel start his best team for this game and why didn’t he get the team behind this fantastic competition- after all it is a trophy at the end of the day which is up for grabs, and nothing makes sense about The Foxes attitude coming into this game. Newport always seemed like the hungrier team and now they have got their just rewards.
For Puel this is a real head shaker not to be fully committed to a cup competition. It’s true that the top 4 sides in England haven’t always taken cup competitions as seriously but then again they are challenging for the league title or a European one, Leicester are challenging for 7th place trying to get to 6th.
Puel’s attitude and other managers around him need to change as cup competitions remain the best chances to win trophies for mid table teams and Puel should be a little embarrassed about his choices at the weekend.