Leicester crash out of FA Cup and it’s manager Claude Puel’s fault

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puel’s maiden season with Southampton continues to gather momentum

 

Euro 2016

Claude Puel’s managerial reign of Southampton did not commence particularly well.

After being appointed as Ronald Koeman’s successor, the 55-year-old Frenchman failed to win any of his first four English Premier League matches, as Southampton collected just two points from those games.

Since then however, they have embarked upon a five match unbeaten run, during which Charlie Austin has scored five goals, to prove that he is an ideal candidate to fulfil the void created by Graziano Pelle’s summer departure to Shandong Luneng.

Excellent start in the Europa League

Equally as impressive as Austin’s recent goal – scoring form, is Southampton’s defensive record, since following their 0-0 Europa League group stage draw with Hapoel Be’er Sheva, they have now kept five successive clean sheets, to coincide with their unbeaten run.

That began with a comprehensive 3-0 Europa League group stage win over Sparta Prague, as Austin became the first Southampton player to score twice in the competition, which was formerly the UEFA Cup, since Steve Moran in 1981, whilst Jay Rodriguez also found the net.

The confidence and belief that Southampton’s players withdrew from defeating Sparta to deliver Puel his victory as the club’s manager has subsequently been evident, given the dynamism, enterprise and freedom with which they have played.

Furthermore another positive characteristic of Southampton’s recent performances has been their unwavering togetherness and collective spirit.  By virtue of exercising such attributes, Puel’s team were able to earn a valuable away point against Hapoel Be’er Sheva to remain top of Europa League Group K.

Although the game was a largely uninspiring contest, Southampton produced a resolute display to frustrate the Israeli champions, who are now unbeaten in 23 games at their new Turner Stadium.

Southampton possess many fine attributes

As an indication of the quality of Southampton’s squad in terms of strength and depth, they earned their creditable point against Hapoel, despite Puel making seven changes to the team which beat West Ham 3-0 to climb to ninth in the English Premier League.

Therefore at present Puel is operating an intelligent squad rotation system, just as he did whilst managing various French Ligue 1 sides, to ensure that his team meet the demands of competing in both domestic and European competition.

The Saints vividly portrayed their ability to do that by brilliantly recovering from their exploits against Sparta Prague, to beat Swansea City 1-0 in their next league game.  In order to do so, they displayed a wealth of determination, drive and perseverance.

Those qualities also illuminated their performance against Hapoel.

Prosperous season awaits Puel’s Saints

By drawing that game to extend their unbeaten run to five matches, Southampton injected further momentum in to their season, which with Puel as manager possesses the potential to be as, if not more, successful than any of those that either of the Frenchman’s two predecessors, Maurico Pochettino and Ronald Koeman oversaw.

Puel will aspire to engineer a continuation of the fine work which he has undertaken in recent weeks by ensuring that his players are suitably prepared, in both a mental and physical sense, for Southampton’s next English Premier League game against Leicester City, following their 6,000 round mile trip to Be’er Sheva.

Ultimately that proved to be extremely worthwhile, as Southampton both, enhanced their prospects of reaching the Europa League knock-out stages for the first time and once again expressed that they are evolving into an excellent team under the guidance of Puel.

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