Head coach Steve Borthwick admitted that Leicester “is a great club that has lost its way very badly” after a second consecutive 11th-placed Premiership finish was confirmed with a heavy loss at Bristol.
The former England forwards coach, who took over as head coach at the Tigers in July, made no attempt to shy away from the challenge that he faces at England’s most decorated club.
“What we are doing right now is rebuilding almost completely,” Borthwick said. “Where have Leicester been? For two years, Leicester have been at the bottom of the table. You don’t just end up in that position, that [comes after] a period of decline prior to those two years. What we are trying to do is wrest that and make strides forward.
“This is a great club that has lost its way, and it's lost its way very badly. Now, what we need to do is make sure we get it on the right path. That, each day, is what we’re trying to do.
“We are rebuilding a squad here. We are trying to bring through younger players. We are trying to ensure that players who are here have the opportunity to show the quality that they can produce on the field. Every player has had that opportunity over this period of time.”
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Borthwick continued: “Do we want more depth in our squad? Yes. Do we want more competition for places in our squad? Yes, we do. Do we need to ensure that the rebuild of this squad continues? Yes.
“Am I clear about the journey we are on, am I clear about the priorities we have? Yes, I am. Does that happen overnight? No. We have lots of work to do. And I know everyone here is invested in that work.”
Borthwick remained adamant, too, that despite another “challenging” defeat – a 37-point loss in Bristol – his side had made “strides forward” since the restart.
“We just need to eradicate these lapses that allow teams opportunities,” he added. “Against a team like Bristol, we made too many errors and gave them opportunities – and you cannot do that.
“Would we have liked to have played better on Wednesday evening? Certainly. Are there attacking opportunities that we need to recognise and get in position faster to take? Yes. Do we need to develop our skill sets in order to be able to take those opportunities? Yes. But that’s what we are working on.”
Meanwhile, Leicester revealed on Thursday night that their Argentinian lock Tomas Lavanini requires surgery on an ankle ligament injury he picked up in their Challenge Cup semi-final loss in Toulon and will be side-lined until late December.