Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers believes a hectic fixture list may have caught up Super Eagles duo Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi and their teammates following their 1-1 draw against 10-man Southampton on Friday night.
Leicester played against 10 men for 80 minutes of the game after Jannik Vestergaard was sent off for denying Jamie Vardy a goalscoring opportunity.
But despite that, it was Southampton who took the lead through James Ward-Prowse’s penalty.
Jonny Evans headed home an equaliser from a brilliant cross from Iheanacho.
Rodgers’ men however failed to find a winner and therefore dropped points in the race to finish in the top four.
And while not offering it as an excuse, Rodgers said their schedule could have contributed to their stalemate at St Mary’s.
“We’re obviously disappointed with the result considering the circumstances of the game,” he said.
“We are normally very good in those situations, 11 v 10 (but) I didn’t think we were fast enough in the game and we didn’t play with the intensity we wanted to.
“The guys have given everything. It was the fourth game in 13 days, so maybe that had something to do with it but no excuse, we have to give credit to Southampton, they made it incredibly difficult.
“They went in front so they had a cause to fight for. We had to fight back and the point could prove very important for us.”
Rodgers also admitted he was unimpressed with his side’s rhythm until Ward-Prowse’s spot kick, and credit Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy for a couple of key saves, including a notable stop from Vardy.
But the Northern Irishman backed his side to bounce back when they take on Newcastle on Friday.
“It’s a point towards where we want to go. The speed of our game wasn’t at the level until we went behind in the game.
“When the opposition go down to 10 men we’re normally good in those situations but you have to credit Southampton to show that resilience and to keep us out. Jamie Vardy is a warrior so he got up and Alex McCarthy made a great save from him.
“You have to work the opposition then have those quick combinations and quality. We couldn’t quite manage that final pass tonight. Normally we enjoy it but tonight it was frustrating for us.
“We did everything with as many attacking players as we could to win the game.
“The disappointment will last for 24 hours of course. But it’s a point towards where we want to go. We weren’t good enough on the evening to get three points but we’ll go again on Friday and hopefully have enough.”
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