Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers hails ‘massive achievement’ after beating Southampton to reach FA Cup final | Football News

Kasper Schmeichel and Caglar Soyuncu celebrate at the final whistle

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers is hopeful that Kelechi Iheanacho can continue his FA Cup love affair next month after sacking the Foxes for their first final of the competition since 1969 by beating Southampton at Wembley.

After Chelsea defeated Manchester City in front of empty stands in the other semi-final, 4,000 local residents – including key workers – formed England’s largest crowd for 13 months.

A number of Leicester and Southampton fans were in attendance, with fit Iheanacho settling the game by returning home early in the second half – his 14th goal in the competition – to seal a 1-0 victory under the ark.

Rodgers said, “It’s amazing. The club have been waiting for a long time to make it to the final. I thought we deserved it. We defended firmly and conceded no effort on goal.

Kelechi Iheanacho celebrates breakthrough for Leicester

“As the game progressed we looked very bright in our attacking game and maybe we should have scored more than one goal. (I’m) really happy for everyone, the players above all.

“It’s a huge achievement, but we have to be hungry and keep pushing. We rise to the challenge, and today’s players were top notch. We are certainly not afraid of the challenge.

“It will be a privilege to lead the team to the final. It was always going to be a close game but I felt we deserved it. We had to defend well, which we did. I am delighted for the players as they have shown that they are constantly learning.

“The performance was very composed, mature, and we got the goal that mattered. I just spoke to Top [Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha] and he’s absolutely thrilled. He was absolutely delighted. It’s early morning there, so he stayed up all night. To be able to reach the final, I am very happy for him. ”

Kelechi Iheanacho guides his low shot to the bottom corner

Iheanacho is the first Nigerian player to score 15 goals in all competitions in a season for a Premier League club since Odion Ighalo in 2015/16 for Watford, who has scored 17, while he has now scored 10 goals in his last seven games.

In response to Iheanacho saying, “I love the FA Cup, the FA Cup loves me,” Rodgers said: “I hope she likes it a little more in the final!

“His confidence level is very high. I thought the first two had worked their socks. They were a real threat. If he makes a mistake, he gets along. Whether it’s inside or outside the surface, it looks like it does. score in every game.

“Some of his prep and building play was a bit loose today, but his confidence wasn’t affected by it. Him and Jamie [Vardy] pose a real threat, but it is essentially a team effort.

Kasper Schmeichel and Caglar Soyuncu celebrate at the final whistle

“Even though there were only 4,000, it was great. It will be amazing to bring the supporters back to the stadiums. I heard Leicester fans in there and it was really cool. It is a step towards the return of this connection because the match is nothing. without supporters. They add pressure and intensity. Hopefully there will be a few more next month.

“We have the chance to make history. Chelsea are a top team. You can see the level and depth of their team. We enter the game conscious of the task. Chelsea were a big club for me, and they gave me a lot. in terms of development as a reserve team coach

“It’s going to be a tough game, but that’s what it’s all about, creating a memory. Since I have been at Leicester I have been aware of the importance of this cup for the supporters.

“When we got here, it was ambition. We said we wanted to be competitive. From a football point of view, we wanted to be able to compete and we were able to do it. Now we have a trophy to really go. When you fail, it’s an integral part of success. We missed last year, so a big credit to the players this time around. ”

Hasenhuttl bemoans his ‘unlucky’ goal

The Saints created very little, but with their dreams of replicating their 1976 triumph, manager Ralph Hasenhuttl might have few complaints about the outcome.

The Austrian said: “We tried a lot and worked a lot against the ball. The performance was absolutely correct. We saw a close game from both teams with difficulties on both sides to create chances. We had a few moments and won the ball a lot of time. times in their half.

“In the end, we didn’t take the last step or create the last chance, so we ended up without a shot on target. Defensively it was really good what we did today. The goal we conceded was unlucky. He managed to hit our player with his first shot. It’s a shame when a goal like this decides a game.

“It was the only goal we conceded in our race this season but we have to come back and fight to win it next year. It was a great experience to play in this beautiful field and even with only a few fans it was a nice feeling. Now we need to focus on the remaining games of the season. If we put the same effort against Tottenham on Wednesday we have a chance to get something.

Southampton failed to save a shot on target in the loss
Southampton failed to save a shot on target in the loss

Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City have reportedly signed the escape plan for a European Super League and will be joined by teams from Italy and Spain.

Hasenhuttl spoke about the proposals at his post-match press conference – and it’s clear he’s not a fan of the plans.

He said: “Absolutely it worries me, but I have to say the Premier League’s message was very clear and I 100% agree with what they had to say. For me, what is going on behind the scenes is absolutely unacceptable. Nobody wants it – even the fans of the clubs who want to go don’t want it. Hopefully we will find the right measures so that this does not happen. “

Pressed to understand why he felt it was’ unacceptable ‘, he added:’ Because I know there were a lot of hours of negotiations in the Premier League over the future and that he didn’t there was not once to talk about this Super League. Suddenly it comes back. and that means there were negotiations in the background. And that for me is unacceptable. ”

And after?

Wednesday April 21 5:30 p.m.

Kick-off at 6:00 p.m.

The FA Cup final will take place at Wembley on Saturday 15 May at 5.30 p.m.

Leicester to host West Brom at King Power Stadium on Thursday in the Premier League; kick off is at 8 p.m. Southampton will travel to face Tottenham on Wednesday, live Sky Sports Premier League and Main event; kick off is at 8 p.m.

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