Brendan Rodgers urges Leicester to use FA Cup final as spur for top four finish

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Ben Fisher
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<span>Photograph: Richard Heathcote/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Richard Heathcote/AFP/Getty Images

Brendan Rodgers said he hopes Leicester reaching a first FA Cup final since 1969 will spur them on to secure a top-four berth in the Premier League. City have lost their last two league matches, and won only two of their last six, but returned to winning ways by beating Southampton courtesy of Kelechi Iheanacho’s second-half strike.

Rodgers’ side resume their league campaign at home to West Brom on Thursday and he hopes victory at Wembley can inspire them to a strong finish in the remaining seven matches. “I think it will give us a huge push forwards,” said the Leicester manager. “I said to the players leading into the game that I felt whether we won the game or lost the game, there was going to be a big challenge mentally to come. If you lose it, it may be difficult to pick yourself up.

Related: Leicester 1-0 Southampton: FA Cup semi-final – as it happened

“That is not the case, thankfully, we have now won it and now we’ve got to put it to the side because we’ve got another great opportunity to arrive in the top four against the odds. We want to push and give it everything to do that. When we met at the beginning of the season, we wanted to [qualify for] European football and we want to try and finish that job off.”

Rodgers said he spoke to Leicester’s owner and chairman, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, who was “over the moon” in Thailand. “It was the early hours of the morning, so he had been up all night. He’s an incredible guy who has suffered in these last few years so to give him that joy of being able to get to the final, I’m very happy to be able to do that for him.” Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Aiyawatt’s father, died in the 2018 helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium.

Meanwhile, Ralph Hasenhüttl said the mooted European super league is “absolutely unacceptable”. The Southampton manager added: “Nobody wants it, not even the fans [of those clubs] want it. Hopefully we will find the right steps to not let it happen. I know there were a lot of hours of negotiations inside the Premier League going on [talking] about the future and there was not one time [when clubs were] speaking about this super league. Suddenly it pops up and that means there were some negotiations in the background.”

Hasenhüttl bemoaned his side’s failure to register a shot on target in a game of few chances. “We saw a not very good game with both teams a little nervous,” he said. “We only conceded one goal in the whole FA Cup and it was the goal that made us drop out.”