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Piper exclusive: Leicester sure of top 6 as expectations permanently changed

Nobody who follows the Premier League will ever forget Leicester City's improbable title win back in the 2015/16 season.

For Matt Piper, who grew up in Leicester and played for the club, it was an event he believes has changed the Foxes idea of itself.

Speaking to Tribalfootball, the 39-year-old said: "The city came together and it changed the city," Piper explains. "And hasn't really gone back to what it was before, that expectation now is still there because you're title winners."

Leicester went on a magical run in the Champions League the season after its title triumph, ending in a quarter-final defeat to Atletico Madrid.

But faltering domestic form saw Leicester fire Claude Puel and replace him with former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.

It was an inspired choice as the Northern Irishman got the club within a whisker of qualifying for Champions League last season.

"I was defending Claude Puel on the radio because it was such a hard job when he came in to try and break up that Premier League winning team and introduce young, new footballers to what everyone remembered so I think he deserved more time," says Piper.

"But I think we have a really good manager now in Brendan Rodgers and last year before the season started, I said on BBC Radio that Leicester will finish in the top four before a ball was kicked and I was nearly there but it just fell away at the end."

Leicester's early season form indicates last season was hardly a fluke as they sit one point off league leaders Liverpool.

They are also two from two in the Europa League group stages and face Braga in their third match on Thursday.

And life-long fan Piper, who scored the last ever goal at the club's old Filbert Street ground, believes watching Leicester in the Europe will continue beyond this season.

"The way I look at Leicester now is that on their day they can mix it with the best I think you seen that against Manchester City when he gets the tactics right and the boys are up for it, we can beat anybody in this league, including Liverpool.

"But because it is a young squad and he's still trying to implement different styles, he's got three or four that he's working, so its going to take a lot more time and I think this season they will finish in the top six, I think."


Matt Piper's new book, Out of the Darkness, out now on Pitch Publishing, can be purchased by clicking here.

Andrew Maclean
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Andrew Maclean

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