Consistency the key for Championship success

A lack of consistency has been Leicester's downfall this season

Another defeat to a lower league side emphasises Leicester City's biggest problem this season: winning against struggling sides.  The Foxes have been beaten by five of the bottom eight teams in the Championship (including losing both home and away against Barnsley, Bristol City and Millwall), a record which is completely baffling, considering that Leicester have beaten five of the eight teams above them (including home and away wins against automatic promotion contenders Southampton).   Had Leicester drawn those five games lost against lower league opposition (or simply won two of those five), they would still be firmly in contention to make the play-offs.

The old cliché rings true here – the table does not lie.  When at their best, Leicester have played some truly wonderful football this season.  But they have also been outclassed by other teams in the Championship.  Regular changes to the team have failed to yield a consistently strong line-up.  There are areas of concern in several places, and even if Nigel Pearson somehow pulls off a miracle in the last three games of the season, he will surely spend most of the summer rebuilding in order to create the consistency similar to that he during his first spell in charge.

Clubs cannot buy success at Championship level.  One only needs to look at the teams in promotion contention this season.  Reading sold two of their key players in the summer (Matt Mills and Shane Long) and the Royals are now top of the league, looking the favourites to be crowned champions in three weeks' time.  Nigel Atkins has stuck with roughly the same Southampton team crowned champions of League One, and look likely to secure back-to-back promotions (as Norwich City did last year).  Birmingham, Blackpool and West Ham were all relegated from the Premier League last season, and so, if anything, have had to consolidate having lost key players, but still maintained a strong core to rebuild from.  Leicester City, on the other hand, spent millions this summer, and their team, looks completely different from last season and look destined to finish outside the play-off places as they did in 2011.  It is difficult for the team to be consistent on the pitch when the club is not consistent off the pitch.

Whatever happens during the final three games this season, Nigel Pearson is still a fan favourite.  He enjoyed two very successful seasons with Leicester, and the club not parted ways with the manager, they would more than likely be in a better position than they are now.  But it is very important that the owners give Pearson another season to bring the belief back to the King Power Stadium.  This team is capable of reaching the Premier League, but it must become stable before it achieves real success.