Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers said he was “bitterly disappointed” after three of the club’s players broke Covid-19 protocols ahead of Leicester’s 3-2 loss to West Ham on Sunday.
Leicester are investigating three players for protocol violations, Sky Sports News has been said.
James Maddison, Hamza Choudhury and Ayoze Perez have all been left out for the crucial shock from manager Brendan Rodgers.
Leicester lost the game 3-2 at the London Stadium to see their third-place lead reduced to one point with seven games to go this season, with Rodgers explaining after the game that he had no choice but to leave drop the trio.
Rodgers did not confirm the identity of the players involved in the breach, but after the loss to West Ham the Foxes boss said: “It was a decision I made, we had an internal situation at the week -end last and it’s not a standard that we would expect.
“All those boys you mentioned, they’re all good guys, they’re all good guys, but we have a standard on and off the pitch that we have to make sure we stick with and that’s why the team has developed well over the last few years. “
Rodgers, however, later confirmed that the players involved would all return to the squad for Leicester’s FA Cup semi-final with Southampton at Wembley next Sunday night.
Rodgers continued: “But the boys will join this group after this game, the consequence of that behavior is that they will miss this game, but they will join the group next week and then we will prepare for a semi-final.
“It’s internal and something that is dealt with from the inside.
“The boys you mentioned is something that is of course disappointing but I know them, it is behavior and a mistake they made, it is not their identity and it certainly is not the identity of what we’re trying to produce.
“It would have been easy to have them here, but that’s not what we want, we have a set of values for this team and this football club, and we have to buy into them and as I say, the players of the principals have been brilliant in my time, and they are top players.
“But they will join the group next week and they will work hard and we will all be together again.
“You can do that if you’re gentle, but for me it’s always about discipline, in order to be a winner and compete at the top of this table you have to act like a winner and what to win and what to win. Mindset is a certain level of behavior and a state of mind that allows you to prepare for every game every day.
“From a personal point of view, I was bitterly disappointed. But it’s a mistake they made and I don’t blame them. It’s in the past now.
“So no, I didn’t hesitate, you can fine players these days and whatever, but it’s a drop in the ocean the consequence of what the game was like. football today, unfortunately we didn’t have them. “
“But we’re going to move on and look to end the season strong.”
Leicester said the players involved have apologized for their behavior and the club will investigate the matter internally.
A club statement said: “It is extremely disappointing to learn of a breach that has the potential to undermine the efforts of club staff to protect the environments in which our teams train and play.
“Appropriate measures have been taken to prevent our team’s bubbles from being compromised.
“We fully expect our people to behave in a way that reflects the national effort and the sacrifices made by our communities to control the spread of the virus. Those involved have apologized for their lack of judgment.
“Our answer to the question will be concluded internally.”
Maddison has been an integral part of Rodgers’ squad this season, scoring 11 goals and providing 10 assists in all competitions despite bouts of injury.
Perez, who has provided three goals in 27 appearances, and Choudhury, who has scored once in 20 games, have also been steadily pitched under Rogers this season.