Leicester 0-2 Blackburn: What Enzo Maresca got wrong in shameful defeat

Leicester City are the champions of the EFL Championship, and had an opportunity to make it 100 points for the season, and end the campaign as winners should. Instead, a 0-2 loss. Here is what Enzo Maresca got wrong
Leicester City v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship
Leicester City v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

The Champion Foxes fell to defeat despite an utter dominance over the ball. Both goals were scored in the second half, and Leicester never looked like scoring one: perhaps the shandy from the celebrations had not worn out yet. That cannot be allowed to happen in future seasons: a team should never take their foot off the gas just because they have achieved their primary objective.

For me, defeat on the final day is shameful. That should have been a raucous victory parade, resulting in demolition and celebrations on top of the trophy lift. Instead, the ground was a party, the players nonchalant, and the trophy lift awe-inspiring. We could have had more: we should not have been champions by one point.

Leicester City were missing this

The King Power side missed three things in the fixture: a plan b, a cutting edge, and mentality. Mentally, winners do not just stop winning, they keep fighting for every point, every goal, and every chance. In this tie, we created 14 shots, seven of those on target, yet failed to score a single one: the mentality to stay calm, to show hunger, and to take the right chances was not there. Clearly, some work still has to be done to get that mentality.

For a large part of the campaign, Leicester have struggled to convert their dominance into a scoreline. We have seen it countless times: we have nearly 80% possession, but lack the guile to defeat defences, create powerful opportunities ahead of goal, and then when we do have chances, they are not taken cleanly. That has to change ahead of next season, where failure to score due to a lack of clinical finishing will be punished far more severely than this.

Further, we have said this for the entire season: we need a plan b. When the Champion Foxes go up against a different kind of team - one which defends very well in a compact shape - Maresca needs to develop a new way of playing. We need to rely less on the opposition making positional errors, and more on the quality of movement off the ball to allow progression retention and not just possession retention. In effect, we need a more fluid and dynamic shape which unleashes our midfield and select centre-backs to do what has to be done.

As a result of not having any other plans, of having a party-like mentality, and no cutting-edge, it was Blackburn who showed the determination to get the points, and certainly took their chances well. The away team only have two shots on target, and made both of them count to bury the champions who defended poorly with a lack of passion and hunger remaining after knowing they had achieved their goal.

Maresca will need to remedy these to have any chance of Premier League survival. This would be on top of the necessity for major new contracts and transfers to help boost the side as they delve into another critical season for supporters and manager alike.