Leicester City supporters have been pretty downbeat in the last few hours after seeing their side bow out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
Claude Puel’s men went into their encounter with defending champions Manchester City having got past Fleetwood Town, Wolves, and Southampton to reach the last eight, thus setting up a meeting with Pep Guardiola’s side at the quarter-final stage for the second successive season. And the match followed a similar pattern to 12 months ago in that City took the lead, netting through Kevin De Bruyne, only for the Foxes to hit back through Marc Albrighton to force a penalty shoot-out, with the Citizens again emerging victorious just like they did this time last year.
As such, there have been many disappointed Leicester fans up and down the country in recent times, with one man in particular likely to come under scrutiny for his display on Tuesday night, namely striker Kelechi Iheanacho.
And while there have been glimpses of promise from the ex-City man during his 18-month stint at the King Power Stadium, his return of two goals in 20 appearances this season simply isn’t good enough for where Leicester want to go under Puel – the Frenchman simply has to get more out of him.
Ultimately, the Foxes were seen to have pulled off quite the coup in luring the Nigeria international to the Midlands back in 2017, what with the 22-year-old finishing his Man City career with a mightily impressive 21 goals in just 64 appearances for the Citizens.
And he showed that level of goal-scoring prowess at times last season in bagging on eight occasions in all competitions for Puel’s side, four of which coming in the Carabao Cup, yet that simply hasn’t been the case this time round with the striker seriously struggling for form – culminating in a disastrous display against his ex-employers on Tuesday night.
Whether it was asking him to try and hold the ball up to relieve pressure on the Foxes backline, or making the right decisions in the final third of the pitch, Iheanacho simply wasn’t able to make a meaningful impact against the Citizens – arguably, he was working too hard to try and affect the game.
And when Leicester needed their number nine to put a shift in both on and off the ball, especially given City dominated possession for much of the encounter, he simply wasn’t able to do that, while it was clear that he was lacking confidence in front of goal given he often froze when in the final third of the pitch.
Yes, Jamie Vardy is comfortably the number one striker at the King Power Stadium, but instances like last night underline just what a crucial role Iheanacho has to play this term – in Vardy’s absence, he must be able to step up.
Yet he wasn’t able to do so last night in what was a disastrous display from the 22-year-old, with it plainly obvious that Puel simply has to get more out of the £13.5 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) if Leicester are to move forward under his stewardship.
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