Brendan Rodgers admitted he was both ‘disappointed’ and ‘proud’ after seeing his Leicester side miss out on Champions League football at the final hurdle.
The Foxes got off to a blistering start to the season, and have maintained their position in the top four for virtually the entirety of the campaign.
However, a run which has seen them win just five league games in 2020 saw Rodgers side slide out of the top four ahead of their Champions League shootout clash against a resurgent Manchester United, who were 14 points adrift back in January.
A win would have still guaranteed Leicester a place among Europe’s elite, though they slipped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat, goals from Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard seeing United clinch third and condemn the 2016 champions to a fifth-placed finish.
Speaking after the game, Rodgers spoke of his pride at his side’s performance this season, the Foxes having ended the season with the likes of James Maddison, Ricardo Pereira, Ben Chilwell and Caglar Soyuncu all unavailable.
“I thought we were well in the game,” Rodgers told BBC Radio 5Live. “With their level of quality it was important to stay in the game, and I thought first half we did really, really well. We defended well. We just needed that final pass and piece of quality, but I thought we were a threat.
“It was all going to plan, but of course we give away the penalty and then we’re chasing it. We just couldn’t manage the goal that could give us that final rally.
“[I’m] Disappointed in terms of the result but perspective over the course of the season – I’m very proud of the team. It’s the second-highest finish in our history, so I can be proud of that. Next year we have to add greater consistency, more ambition in the team and look to improve.”
While he couldn’t add to his tally against United, Jamie Vardy’s 23 goals this season saw him finish up with the Premier League Golden Boot, and Rodgers was clearly delighted to be working with the former England international.
“We wouldn’t be where we are, challenging, without his quality and his goals. He’s a joy to work with, every day with a smile on his face, he works so hard. It’s a huge accolade for him and we’re all delighted.”