Brendan Rodgers has pleaded with Leicester’s fans not to desert his Champions League chasers, in a message reminiscent of Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.
Rodgers is seeking a seventh Premier League win in a row and wants supporters to stay until the final whistle to back his resurgent team against Watford on Wednesday night.
Leicester secured a dramatic victory over Everton on Sunday with Kelechi Iheanacho’s winner coming four minutes into added time, while they have also scored crucial late goals against Sheffield United, Tottenham and Burnley this season.
Rodgers is not criticising or blaming Leicester’s fans for leaving early but has evoked memories of Klopp as his own team hunt down a European place.
Four years ago Klopp admitted he felt “pretty alone” after a 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace, as fans walked out after a late goal, and Rodgers is also making a heartfelt address to the home crowd.
“I think my message is 'supporters, don't leave early'. This is a team that whether we're at 9-0 or 1-1, we want you here because we will go right to the end,” he said.
“At 1-1 they should never doubt that this team is finished. Did I notice fans leaving against Everton? Yes.
“Look at the stamina and the mentality in this team and we never, ever believe that the game is over until that whistle blows.
“It didn't annoy me [about some fans leaving] but I want them to stay. I know there can be a bit of a traffic queue getting out of here but, as long as they know this team is going to push right to the very end.”
Leicester are unbeaten at the King Power Stadium since April and face a Watford team bottom of the league who sacked Quique Sánchez Flores for the second time last weekend.
It was Watford who gave Rodgers his first managerial job in 2008 and the Northern Irishman has admitted his shock at another Premier League dismissal, insisting the decisions are due to fears over the financial cost of relegation.
“They’ve been through a lot of managers, it’s obviously a different club to when I was there in terms of owners,” he said.
“They’ve had some outstanding managers there and the surprise with Quique was that they know how he works. He was brought back in presumably because they thought he was a fantastic manager who’d done well for them before.
“When I went in there I won only two of my first 10 games, but then in January I was able to bring in my own types of players. The profile of the team changes and we started to go.
“Now, Quique didn’t even have the chance to do that. There’s so much money in the game that it frightens owners and of course that means they make changes that much quicker.”