Brendan Rodgers has warned Leicester must alter their expectations after a dreadful start to the season and outlined a bleak picture by admitting his players need to enter survival mode to reach 40 points and avoid relegation.
Rodgers’s side finished eighth last season and reached the Europa Conference League semi-finals, a year on from winning the FA Cup for the first time, but after a summer in which they signed only one outfield player the under-pressure Leicester manager has made clear that the realistic targets this season have significantly changed.
Rodgers, who has repeatedly spoken of his appetite to disrupt the Premier League’s top six, conceded he is working to “totally different” objectives in comparison with recent seasons and underlined his point by saying: “This isn’t the club that it was a couple of years ago.”
In 2021 Leicester missed out on qualifying for the Champions League on the final day of the season but head to Brighton on Sunday bottom of the table and searching for their first win this campaign.
“I’m preparing to get to 40 points and looking forward to getting working and everyone going in the same direction,” the Leicester manager said. “I felt six months ago we needed to improve the squad in the summer because every team, no matter how good you have been, it needs regenerating.
“Some players when I came into here, when I think back to three and a half years ago, some of these boys at that point were being written off at the age of 32 and 33.”
Rodgers continued: “We are three and a half years on and not a great deal has changed in terms of the starting XI. I knew six months it would be an issue for us and of course we haven’t been able to do it [refresh the squad]. But we’re not going to lay down and roll over, we have to find a way now. Our objective this season is to get to 40 points.”
Leicester’s owner, King Power International Group, a Thai duty-free retailer, was severely affected by the global pandemic, while poor recruitment last summer has contributed to a bloated squad and a huge wage bill. Leicester’s failure to offload fringe players such as Boubakary Soumaré, Jannik Vestergaard and Caglar Soyuncu hampered their ability to strengthen, with the Belgium defender Wout Faes, a direct replacement for Wesley Fofana, the only signing of note. The free agent Alex Smithies, previously of Cardiff, was signed as a third-choice goalkeeper.