Conor Coady reveals 'nightmare' that nearly cost Leicester City promotion

Conor Coady applauds the Leicester City fans after the 2-1 win over West Brom at the King Power Stadium
Inside track... Conor Coady has been talking about City's title struggles. -Credit:Anna Gowthorpe/REX/Shutterstock

Conor Coady has revealed that the downturn in form that nearly cost Leicester City their place in the Premier League was a “nightmare” to cope with.

City lost six out of 10 Championship matches in a disastrous run of results from mid-February to mid-April, allowing Ipswich and Leeds to eradicate the Foxes' 14-point cushion inside the top two. If not for their rivals’ own slip-ups after Easter, City could easily have been condemned to the play-offs.

Although they slipped out of the top two at times, City never lost control of their own fate. But they came close to doing so, and it felt like they were destined to miss out when they lost away at relegation battlers Millwall and Plymouth in the space of four days.

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It was after the defeat at Home Park that the squad held a players-only meeting to try to halt their slide. The squad responded with three wins in a row to earn promotion and win the title.

While City players put on a stoic front at the time, Coady has now explained just how mentally difficult it was during those couple of months as they tried to turn their form around. It wasn’t as comfortable as the seven-point gap to Leeds on the final day suggested.

“The end of the season when we lost a couple of games, but Leeds were losing and Ipswich were losing, I can talk about it now. It’s done and we’ve got ourselves in a position where we’re in the Premier League, but it was a nightmare,” Coady told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club.

“It was tough mentally. We spoke as a group, we spoke as senior players, the leadership group spoke. And the lads reacted. We needed a reaction from players at a certain point and at the end it looked fairly comfortable. But it wasn’t four or five games before the end.

"You need players to step up and leaders to pull players through and the lads certainly did that. It was more relief at the end of the season. We knew for the football club how important it was to be in the Premier League.”

While the players are on holiday for now, having spent some time away together in Monaco to celebrate their Championship title win, it won’t be long before they start to think about the Premier League. Coady says they won’t be swept up by the excitement of returning to the top flight.

He added: “A lot of improvement (is needed) from us as players, from us as a team, from the football club. We’ve got a lot of lads who played in the Premier League before. We understand the demands and what it takes.

“When it’s an unknown, the excitement draws you into it. We understand as players who have played a lot of games in the Premier League, the standards that you need to get to to be in a position where you can do well. We understand that.

“We’ve started thinking about it. We understand the improvement that we need. We can’t rest on our laurels in terms of what we’ve done this season. We’ve done well and we’ve played some good stuff, we’ve got the club back to where it needed to be. But the real work starts now.”

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