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Leicester Tigers

“I can’t believe I’m here as a losing coach”-Dan McKellar

Leicester Tigers head coach Dan McKellar said his side need to reflect on the way they let a 19-0 lead slip from their grasp, as they fell to yet another defeat.

The Tigers led 19-0 until the 70th minute, but a red card to Mike Brown gave the Bears a gateway back into the game, which ultimately saw them win 21-19.

Speaking to BBC Radio Leicester, McKellar said: “Ultimately, the second card to Brownie hurt us. At 19-7 up, we were well in control of that game. A penalty against you, go down to 14 and they’re a tough team to defend against.

He added: “I thought we were outstanding today for 70 odd minutes; and to be honest, I can’t believe I’m sitting here as a losing coach, but that’s the reality that I’ve got to deal with.”

Discipline has been a key issue for the Tigers in recent weeks. McKellar’s side copped three cards in the East Midland’s derby defeat last week, and this weekend also saw Mike Brown get two yellow cards.

Commenting on his side’s discipline issues, McKellar said: “Incredibly frustrated. We gave away 8 penalties today from last glance. I thought our overall discipline was much better, but back-to-back cards for one individual has hurt us.”

McKellar on missing out on the play-offs

Dan McKellar-Credit: IMAGO

Leicester are currently in torrid form. Yesterday’s defeat was their fourth from their last five matches in all competitions, but more importantly it has effectively ended their hunt for the top four.

This defeat is also one of a number of agonising defeats for Leicester this season. They lost to Gloucester by two points, Harlequins by four points and Sale by seven points; and this is something McKellar said his team need to review for next season.

“There’s a lot of learnings to come out of this year,” he said. But at the right time we’ll look at that and review it and make sure that we’re better for it.

He added: “We need to have a deeper look at it, I can’t give you the exact answer now. I don’t know there’s if there’s any clear trend in there, they’re all different reasons for why.

Yesterday’s defeat was arguably the worst way to lose a tight affair. The Tigers were 19-0 up approaching the final 10 minutes, and even led 19-14 with 90 seconds to go.

“I think today we’re up 19-0, probably should have been up one more with all the possession and opportunities we had in the first half. It would have been nice to go in with a bigger lead at half time, but they’re a good side. They’re fighting for their season as well and they hung in the fight.”

Leicester’s play-off hopes may now be over, but they will still want to end their season on a high in their final two games against Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs