A humiliation. This was Leicester’s worst League Cup result in nearly 20 years and their first League Cup defeat to a fourth tier side in 30.
What was supposed to be a morale boosting cruise to the Third Round turned into a disastrous exit and the Foxes can blame no-one but themselves. On a night when those on the pitch were supposed to be staking a claim for a regular place in the starting eleven, only those who didn’t cross the white line saw their stock improve.
Leicester were awful.
They were awful for so many reasons. There were individual errors, misplaced passes, poor to non-existent movement off the ball, football Nigel Pearson called self-indulgent and decisions that tried the patience of even the most saintly Foxes fans.
Let’s start with the individual errors. Zac Whitbread’s decision to let the ball bounce before Burton’s second will be the one replayed most often, but he was by no means alone. Paul Gallagher sent a backpass to Schmeichel without looking and almost played in Calvin Zola. Sean St. Ledger’s sent long balls forward to where his teammates where and not where they were going to be. And as has become a worrying habit, several decent chances to score were missed.
Up front Waghorn and Schlupp rarely stretched a Burton Albion backline which could barely believe its luck. Leicester’s build up play was too slow too often, allowing the back four to remain neatly organised and play with their backs to goal.
In midfield Matty James lacked bite and so did Neil Danns. When times were tough there was no tough tackling. When the team and the fans needed lifting, neither offered a rousing piece of play.
In fairness to both men, neither did anyone else.
Perhaps that was what proved most disappointing – the lack of fight from a group of players who ought to have made the most of a rare start. With no more League Cup matches for another season, it’s worth pondering if some of those on display this evening will be afforded another chance to impress.
And of course now attention turns to the manager. Was eight changes too many? Did his tactics make sense? Does he have long to turn it around?
For what it’s worth your correspondent would argue the answers are no, no and probably not. That side should have proved too much for Burton, even if it was hampered by baffling decisions to experiment with inside-out wingers and later to continue with short passing long after Marco Futacs (a more than useful target man) had entered the fray.
The Raksriaksorn’s might have learned from the last two attempts to find a short-cut to the Premier League by sacking the manager early in the season, but you wouldn’t bet on it. Right now a poor result on Saturday really could spell the end for Nigel Pearson.
This blog has always argued sacking managers so early in the season makes no sense, but since Foxblogger doesn’t get to make the calls at the King Power Stadium it can’t argue Nigel Pearson is safe in his job.
It could be another busy week.