Brendan Rodgers is hoping to write his name in Leicester City folklore by guiding them to FA Cup glory in next month’s final against Chelsea.
Leicester edged out fellow Premier League side Southampton 1-0 at Wembley on Sunday through a Kelechi Iheanacho strike to reach their first final since 1969.
The Foxes were memorably crowned English champions in 2015-16 but never before have they lifted the FA Cup, finishing runners-up on four occasions.
Rodgers is looking to put that right as Leicester attempt to balance their cup exploits with finishing in the top four of the Premier League over the remainder of the season.
“We have the chance to create history. That is what this game is about, creating a memory,” he told BBC Sport.
“I have been made aware since I’ve been at Leicester how important this cup is for the supporters. When we arrived here that was the ambition.
“We said we wanted to be competitive. From a football perspective we wanted to be able to compete and we’ve been able to do that. Now we have a trophy to genuinely go for.
“When you fail it is an integral part of being successful. We missed out last year, so a great credit to the players this time.”
Save the date pic.twitter.com/pHRJeERhMV
— Leicester City (@LCFC) April 18, 2021
The victory was Leicester’s first at Wembley since the 2000 EFL Cup final, with Iheanacho once again the hero.
He scored for the third round running to take his tally in the competition to 14 goals in 19 appearances since his first-such outing in January 2016 – the most of any player over that period.
“I’ve been unlucky in the past few years but I need to keep working hard to go to the next level now,” Iheanacho told BT Sport.
“We did it together. Without the whole team we wouldn’t have won. It’s not a one-man show.
“I’m happy with the way we played together and stayed together at the end and I was at the right place at the right time. We are in the final and we’re really happy.
“I think the FA Cup loves me and I love the FA Cup.”
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.
Rodgers added: “His confidence levels are very high. Some of his set-up play was a bit loose today but his confidence was not affected by that.
“Him and Jamie [Vardy] are a real threat but it is very much a team effort.”
52 – Leicester City have reached their first FA Cup final since 1969, a gap of 52 years, the longest between finals since Portsmouth went 69 and Cardiff went 81 between finals before facing one another in 2008. Relief. #EmiratesFACup pic.twitter.com/jlY7AitL4E
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 18, 2021
Southampton have been eliminated in eight of their last 10 FA Cup semi-final appearances, two of which have come in the last four seasons.
The Saints had kept a clean sheet in each of the previous four rounds and scored eight goals, but they failed to have a single shot on target this time around.
“It’s hard to take because we haven’t been the worst team,” Ralph Hasenhuttl told BBC Sport. “We saw a not very good football game to be honest, with both teams a little nervous.
“That such a goal decides such a game is a pity for us. We had a good run and we wanted to get to the final to give our fans the chance of another final.
“In the end, especially in the final third, we didn’t have good moments. We couldn’t get a shot on goal and this is not enough. We had the chance to get to the final. We’ll try again next year.”
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