Friday 19 January 2018

Pearson hails Foxes' united front

Leicester City 2 Southampton o

Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring their second goal against Southampton yesterday
Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring their second goal against Southampton yesterday
Leicester City midfielder Riyad Mahrez scores their opening goal past Southampton goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga
Southampton's Toby Alderweireld shoots from a free kick against Leicester City yesterday

Sean Taylor

Leicester's team spirit was hailed by both managers after the Foxes continued their march towards Premier League survival at the King Power Stadium.

The win, a sixth success in seven matches, is the latest in what has been a remarkable turnaround. A month ago they looked dead and buried and set for a return to the Championship after a eight-game winless run which included six defeats. Now, Nigel Pearson's side sit three places and three points above the drop zone and can clinch their place in the top flight for another season with victory at relegation rivals Sunderland next Saturday - should other results also go their way.

Pearson insists spirit has never been a problem in his camp and is at a loss to explain the recent upturn in results.

"It has been a big factor in our change of fortune, but throughout the season it's been a big factor," said the Leicester boss, manager of the month for April. "From my own perspective of being in the dressing room, we've never lost hope of what we can achieve.

"I don't know why it has changed for us. I don't know what the difference has been. We've played well for a long time but now we're keeping clean sheets and scoring more. It sound basic but it's hard to give a definitive answer."

Leicester travel to Sunderland next before finishing the season at home to QPR, who will be relegated today if they fail to win at Manchester City.

Riyad Mahrez enhanced his growing reputation by scoring both goals yesterday with the only down side for the Foxes an injury to Matty James.

A fourth straight away loss looks to have finally ended their Southampton's hopes of catching Liverpool in fifth spot. Ronald Koeman was impressed by Leicester spirit but also admitted his side were off the pace.

"Leicester we're full of confidence and had a cause," he said. "They were fighting for something. Fighting against relegation. Fighting for their lives."

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