Nigel Pearson

Head Strong: Why Mentality is The Key to Leicester City’s season

On the brink of football’s busiest time of the season, Leicester City stand on the cusp of the top two with an impressive 38 points from 19 games played, promotion form, as the pundits like to call it. However, The Foxes fans’ morale has sunken following two defeats last week to lowly Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton & Hove Albion. Ahead, of a huge week for Leicester City in which they face both of the top two as well as Premier League giants, Manchester City, this new form and indeed attitude seems like a less than desirable way to tackle it.

Crucial... The high-flying Foxes face Burnely, Man City and QPR next week.

Crucial… The high-flying Foxes face Burnely, Man City and QPR next week.

From an outside perspective, a fan seeming discontented in third place following two defeats, which haven’t proven very costly would seem absolutely laughable. And I’d tend to agree with those who take that view. The Foxes despite deserving to lose at both Hillsborough and the AMEX Stadium have put in plenty of positives prior to last week to get them in to the lofty position that they’re in. Many fans are worried that this is the start of yet another downturn in form, like the one that scuppered any chance of automatic promotion last season.  Many believe that City’s young squad lacked the mental strength to overcome adversity last season but Nigel Pearson’s squad seem suited for recovery following last season’s cruel ending at Vicarage Road.

Emulation… Leicester’s record mirrors champions, Cardiff’s.

There’s no surprise that City fans fear the worst, after last week given 2013’s downward spiral and the club’s reputation of ‘bottling’ good positions and being a ‘nearly club’. But one thing Leicester fans mustn’t forget to apply when assessing the club’s position is perspective. Leicester remain just one point of the top spot, four ahead of fourth place Derby and seven points clear of the play-off’s chasing pack. The Foxes are 5 points better off than at this stage last season and 9 better off than the 2011–12 campaign. As a matter of fact, last season’s champions, Cardiff City held the exact same record of 12–2–5 at this stage last season as the Foxes do now. As well as this, the mental strength of the squad seems to have improved with the Foxes already managing to salvage 10 points from losing positions this season. The side even managed a 3-0 thumping of Watford, at the very ground where their promotion hopes were callously dashed in May.

Support… Lessened expectation could be City’s catalyst.

In my opinion, the fans have been excellent this season, managing to support the club through numbers and noise on the road and at home. But now we’ve hit a rough patch, expectation is once again rearing it’s ugly head. We failed in 2011–12 when we all expected City to get promoted and we failed last season too. Now, Leicester are expected to go on a calamitous downturn in form that will ultimately end our season. It’s probably safe to assume that half a fanbase expecting and translating negativity will only suit to confound our recent blip, if you can even call it that. Instead of expecting us to thrash all of our opponents or slump in to mid-table obscurity, let’s support the team through adversity. We all know well enough how crazy this league and indeed supporting Leicester City is and I think we can all see that our club doesn’t thrive under pressure – let’s do our bit and hope the players and manager respond. Keep the faith and all that.

P.S. Enjoy this fanmade tribute to Anthony Knockaert and that penalty save –

Leicester City’s Greatest Moment

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! for your favourite LCFC moment

Leicester City crest

Leicester City crest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Heroes in blue and white… Vote for Leicester City’s greatest ever moment

Here are the top 10 most nominated moments;

Claridge’s winner at Hillsborough

Steve Claridge scored the winner in extra-time after Leicester undeservedly scrambled to a replay at Hillsborough. This was Leicester’s first major trophy for 30 years and it came against a side captained by current manager, Nigel Pearson.

Claridge’s shin

“This could be the winner from Claridge… It is! Stevie Claridge has given Leicester a place in the Premiership!” Enough said.

Leicester’s headed masterclass

Leicester score 4 headed goals at Pride Park against local rivals, Derby… within 15 minutes of the first whistle. The fastest earned deficit in Premier League history.

Elliott nods home

Matt Elliott heads the second over the line as Leicester beat Tranmere to their second league cup in three seasons.

Howard ends Leicester’s third tier tour

Leicester’s one and only season outside the top two tiers ended in ecstasy as Steve Howard scored a last-minute winner to practically confirm promotion in the battle of the big clubs.

Foxes Never Quit – Leicester 3 Arsenal 3

City enacted a stunning comeback to spite Dennis Bergkamp’s masterclass for Arsenal.

Leicester 5-0 Cambridge

Leicester thrash sorry Cambridge to book yet another trip to Wembley for the 1992 play-off final.

Marshall’s Madrid opener

Ian Marshall’s falling socks bundle the ball across the line to give Leicester a surprise 1-0 lead at the Vicente Calderon in the UEFA Cup.

Silence of the Rams

Steve Walsh puts Derby to the sword as Leicester fight back from a goal down to win the all East Midlands play-off final.

Tony James, one-nil

Unfortunately, there is no YouTube video of it but Tony James’ goal against Oxford United on the last day of the season was absolutely crucial in Leicester City’s history; it was a goal that lifted the Foxes out of the second tier drop zone.

*All nominations chosen by members of the FoxesTalk forum

Tame Tigers Mauled by Foxes

Leicester City completed back-to-back wins for the first time this season as David Nugent saw off Nigel Pearson’s former club with a superb hat-trick. 

The home side were  the brighter starters and their early pressure payed off in the 7th minute when David Nugent slotted home his second of the campaign as the King Power Stadium faithful urged the foxes to grab another. In fact, Hull were fortunate to still have

“3-1 Leicester! 3-1 Leicester! In your cup fiiiiiiiiinal!”… Hat-trick hero, David Nugent

eleven men on the pitch after a crunching two-footed challenge from Faye on Jamie Vardy went unpunished. But, Hull fought back in the 26th minute as Leicester’s tendency to concede sloppy goals continued as Jay Simpson levelled for Hull from 3 yards. A goal that materialised from nothing much to the delight of the 1,500 travelling fans.

The right to goad fell back to the away supporters as a horrible sense of familiarity encroached the City faithful but the game would be handed another twist as Knockaerts wonderfully crafted cross landed on the head of David Nugent to put City 2-1 up heading in to the break.

Embarrassment… Steve Bruce is sent to the stands.

Leicester came bursting out of the traps in the second half much like they did in the first. The Foxes fans rocked Filbert Way belting out the mocking taunt of “2-1 in your cup finaaaaal” to the hushed Humber army. Leicester continued to frustrate the Tigers as the game edged closer to the final whistle, a feeling perfectly emulated by manager, Steve Bruce who was dismissed for a juvenile rant to the fourth official. The Leicester fans lauded the hilarity as Bruce was repeatedly moved around the ground.

Despite the buoyancy in the home end, Hull nearly had the last laugh as Nick Proschwitz’s thumping header was cleared off the line in injury time to set up a superb counter attack as Dyer slotted through to Nugent who wrapped up the three points with a career first hat-trick.

Cheers rang around the King Power Stadium as the full time whistle went, leaving Leicester lying 7th in the table.

“One Nigel Pearson”… The Foxes’ boss got the last laugh over his former employers.

FT: Leicester City 3–1 Hull City

Attendance: 20,815

Déjà Blue – Leicester Plunged Into Managerial Turmoil

With every new season comes a fresh set of expectant foxes and with the inspiration of London’s 2012 Olympic Games and last season’s failures a not so distant memory, Leicester fans had been more expectant than ever of setting the record straight. The season started well for the Foxes with a convincing 2-0 home win over Peterborough United. Nevertheless, three consecutive defeats to Charlton, Blackburn and Burton Albion would leave some fans calling for Pearson’s head.

Under fire… Some Leicester fans are calling for Pearson’s removal

It appears to be the same old for Leicester just four games in to the competitive campaign. A vicious cycle consisting of pre-season hype, an opening day win followed by a handful of defeats and in fickle Leicester fan nature, boos are already ringing around the King Power Stadium.  First4LCFC carried out a Twitter poll following Leicester’s league cup exit asking whether Pearson should stay or go with 76% wanting the manager to remain in his position. However, just under a quarter of Leicester fans still think even more change is best for the club.

But the minority campaigning for Pearson’s dismissal seem to have obtained short-term memory loss. It is no secret that last season, Leicester fans bemoaned our dreadful lack of consistency, a quality that is key to escaping this division at the right end. So changing our manager FOUR games in to the season is surely nothing but a hindrance? If we go back as early as last October and the dismissal of Sven-Goran Eriksson, we can see that changing managers mid-season is not beneficial, leading to months of false dawns and ultimately disappointment. As the saying goes, mistakes are made to be learned from and if we learned anything from Sven’s reign at Leicester, it’s that knee-jerk decisions get you no where in football.

Harsh…Sven was a victim of City’s fickle fanbase.

Another point to argue is that of Leicester legend, Martin O’Neill who came under fire during his early days at the club following some disappointing results. However, given time and patience  he managed to lead Leicester to two major trophies and gave us a wealth of Premier League memories on his way to becoming one of Leicester’s greatest ever bosses. It’s imperative that we back Pearson during this season. The key to success in the second tier is consistency and that has to start with the manager. The Foxes had been playing well in the league and have been unlucky to take just 3 points when we should have had at least 7.  Leicester also made 8 changes from the starting line-up at Blackburn for the mid-week 4-2 defeat at home to Burton Albion, indicating that some fans may be catastrophising.

Admittedly, it’s not the start that many had hoped for. Most people craved for us to hit the ground running and avoid playing catch-up to the league’s early leaders but sacking Nigel Pearson will only make that challenge harder. There’s no denying that we need to start turning performances in to results and that any Leicester side should be dealing with the likes of Burton Albion but those defeats are in the past now and there are still a minimum of 44 competitive fixtures left this season. So all Leicester fans really need to do is follow the club’s now cliched mantra and keep the faith.