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Ex-Leicester City star urges fans to be patient

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Former Leicester City striker Steve Claridge has urged fans to have patience as the club launches another bid for the Premier League.

City fans were heart-broken last season when Troy Deeney's late strike for Watford dumped them out of the Championship play-off semi-final.

Despite being in second place two thirds of the way through the campaign, City ultimately had to resign themselves to a 10th season outside the top flight.

The sole aim since the club's Thai owners took over has always been promotion and next season will be no different.

City get their new campaign under way with a trip to Middlesbrough on August 3 and it will be imperative they get off to a good start.

But Claridge urged fans not to put too much pressure on the players too soon.

"It is going to take some kind of understanding from the crowd and from everyone that it is no good putting pressure on from the start," said the man who sent City back into the Premier League with his 120th-minute goal in the 1996 play-off final.

"That's probably why they fell down a bit last season because of the pressure and expectation. It is not easy to play when you are expected to win things.

"Different players react in different ways to pressure. Some enjoy it, some thrive on it but some don't like playing like that.

"It will be interesting to see what the expectation will be this year – there is no doubt when teams play under that sort of pressure they can find it a struggle.

"The expectation should be, look, 'let's see this team settle, let's see this team develop and let's have a look at this at Christmas unless it is an absolute disaster'."

City's performance last season was definitely a tale of two halves.

At the end of January, they were sitting pretty in the automatic promotion spots.

But an abysmal run of just three wins from 17 Championship games after that saw them relying on a stoppage-time winner on the final day of the season proper to creep into the top six.

"They will just want more consistency next season," said Claridge. "If they do that, they'll probably make the play-offs and might even nick an automatic spot.

"I think they also might need to strengthen a bit in central midfield and they need more consistency from the wide players.

"The back four did okay, albeit for one or two hairy moments. Up front they have got players who can score goals but they went through some poor patches.

"Also they need a little bit more strength when they are not on the ball.

"They are very good, as a lot of teams are, when they have got the ball, and look nice with it, but when they haven't got it, they look a bit vulnerable."

Ex-Leicester City star urges fans to be patient


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