‘That’s my fault’: Brendan Rodgers admits he made a MISTAKE in leaving Hamza Choudhury out of Leicester side for Carabao Cup semi-final draw
- Brendan Rodgers says he was wrong to leave Hamza Choudhury out of his team
- Choudhury had been benched for Leicester’s Carabao Cup draw on Wednesday
- The midfielder had instead been introduced at half-time against Aston Villa
- Substitute Kelechi Iheanacho cancelled out Frederic Guilbert’s strike in the clash
Brendan Rodgers admitted he was wrong to leave Hamza Choudhury out of his starting XI after a game that leaves Leicester and Aston Villa with equal hopes of reaching the Carabao Cup Final.
With holding midfielder Wilfred Ndidi due to have a knee operation on Thursday after damaging his meniscus in training on Tuesday, Choudhury was surprisingly left on the bench, with James Maddison, Youri Tielemans and Dennis Praet operating in a three-man midfield.
Rodgers expects Ndidi to be absent for three to four weeks, while Maddison appeared to take a blow to the head in the closing stages of the game that required treatment on the pitch.
Brendan Rodgers admitted he was wrong to leave Hamza Choudhury out of his starting XI
Frederic Guilbert gave Villa the lead in the first half yet after Choudhury replaced Praet at half-time, Leicester were relentless and equalised through substitute Kelechi Iheanacho, just five minutes after replacing Ayoze Perez.
Asked whether he should have started Choudhury, Rodgers said: ‘Yes, that’s my fault.
‘We dominated first half but weren’t fast enough with the ball, our biggest problem was our pressing. We were not aggressive enough, which is down to me as Wilf got taken out of the game at the last minute because of an injury.
‘The decision was either to put Hamza in or maybe put in another ball-player in because we were going to have a lot of the ball. Youri Tielemans did fine but we were too passive.
Choudhury had been benched for Leicester’s Carabao Cup draw against Aston Villa
‘We came into the game in the second half with a couple of changes and we were different team.’
Villa boss Dean Smith promised Leicester ‘a raucous crowd at Villa Park’ for the second leg on January 28 but labelled the Foxes’ equaliser ‘farcical’.
Ezri Konsa played Douglas Luiz into trouble from a free-kick. The Brazilian was robbed by Choudhury, who found Jamie Vardy to slip in Iheanacho for a powerful finish – just moments after coming on as a substitute.
Choudhury robbed back the ball and fellow substitute Kelechi Iheanacho fired in the leveller
Though Villa continue to look for a new goalkeeper to deputise for the injured Tom Heaton, Orjan Nyland had another impressive game in goal, making a string of important saves, while Konsa also hit the bar with a header at 1-0 from the impressive Jack Grealish’s free-kick.
Smith said: ‘Nyland is a good goalkeeper. We are looking at goalkeepers but whether we are close, I don’t know. We were concentrating on this game.
‘It was a great, mature performance from Jack. He carries the ball well, he has great balance and composure. It wasn’t the performance I wanted if I’m honest, I thought Leicester were the better team [but] it should be a great second leg.’