It is the day after the night before and Brendan Rodgers is back at Leicester City’s training ground. The sun is shining and all is well after a late turnaround in Eindhoven saw his team progress to the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League.
Rodgers is proud of the performance. “Twenty minutes to go, 1-0 down, and we were still calm,” he tells Sky Sports. “We played some great football.” But as he begins to reflect on a special night, other memories of the past 24 hours return.
“It was seeing the happiness of the players and the staff afterwards, sharing that moment with the supporters. We stayed overnight so coming back to the hotel we had all the staff there and had a meal together. That was great. Just the happiness of it all, really.”
Sixteen-hundred supporters were there to see it, many more will now be planning their trip to Rome in the last four. “We saw some supporters in the morning at the hotel who had stayed over. It is the joy. That is what it gives you. The supporters loved it, which is great.”
All of which makes one wonder what the mood would now be like had Leicester not mustered that comeback. Thirteen minutes remained when James Maddison levelled the tie. Two minutes of normal time were left when Ricardo Pereira won it for his team.
Both the scorers started the game but Ayoze Perez, the player who set up the equaliser did not. Nor did Ademola Lookman, the man whose movement was instrumental in the winner. This match was won thanks to the proactive substitutions of the manager.
“I felt that we had to make the change. We were fine in the game, then we concede a sloppy goal and then we had some really good chances. I said to the guys at half-time that unfortunately when you are in these situations there are no second chances.”