Leicester’s beleaguered boss Brendan Rodgers is adamant that his underperforming players are “very united” and “giving it all” despite the club’s worst start to the season in the Premier League.
The struggling Foxes remain at the bottom of the table with just one point after Sunday’s 5-2 draw in Brighton sentenced them to a fifth consecutive defeat in the top flight.
Sections of City’s traveling support have reached out to their pressured manager at Amex Stadium, unfurling a full-time “Rodgers Out” banner and shouting for him to be fired.
Leicester players also vented frustration in Sussex, which included heated exchanges on the pitch between Wilfred Ndidi and goalkeeper Danny Ward and, later, James Maddison and substitute Daniel Amartey.
“I’m happy when that happens because they have to tell each other,” Rodgers said of the disagreements. “You can’t hide behind a rock and pretend it’s not happening.
“The group is very close, that’s the beauty of it. The spirit is there, a great group of guys who are talented but, at the moment, collectively we are not really showing that talent and this is (due) to the trust.
“We are a lot together, there is no doubt about that. But I like talking about things on the pitch.
“The players are giving their all and they are fighting.”
Having finished 12th in the season after the 2016 title shock, Leicester have recorded five consecutive Premier League first half finishes.
But, following a frustrating transfer window in which he was unable to significantly increase his selection options, Rodgers has already warned that avoiding relegation is the main goal this season.
The Northern Irishman believes it is “a constant challenge” to fill the gaps in his team after comparing his team to a puzzle with missing pieces.
“We have the players we have, who have the skills they have and we have to try to maximize what we can get from them,” said Rodgers, who is the favorite to be the next Premier League manager to be fired.
“For us it is like a puzzle, we are missing pieces and it is a constant challenge to try to fill in the gaps where the pieces are missing.
“This is the reality of where we are, but it won’t stop us from trying, fighting and working for the best possible results.
“Football can change very quickly. We get a result and that will generate a lot of trust in the players and from there we can move forward.
“It’s my job and the staff job to keep them up there, make them fight, make them work.”
Leicester were in the lead after just 51 seconds with Kelechi Iheanacho and, after Luke Thomas own goal and a shot from Moises Caicedo, equalized at half-time thanks to Patson Daka.
But the visitors were outclassed in the second period.
Leandro Trossard restored fourth-placed Brighton’s lead before Alexis Mac Allister shrugged off the disappointment of having a stunning shot barred for offside after a lengthy VAR check by adding a penalty and brilliant free-kick in the final to bring the his tally to four goals in as many games.
“Of course I was annoyed,” Argentine midfielder Mac Allister told Albion’s website. It was a fantastic goal and I’m not sure if I will score another goal like that in my life, but it’s football and we have to accept it.
“We have to get used to the VAR, now it’s part of the game and obviously sometimes it helps us make a decision.
“It was a fantastic performance from the guys. Apart from Fulham (loss 2-1 in the middle of the week) it was a good start for us and we will try to do even better in the next match ”.