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How Leicester's hounding paid off

"We just know one way to play really and that is on the front foot," said captain Wes Morgan after Leicester overturned a 2-1 deficit to make it to the last eight at the expense of Sevilla.

Marc Albrighton and Danny Drinkwater celebrate Leicester's second goal
Marc Albrighton and Danny Drinkwater celebrate Leicester's second goal ©AFP/Getty Images

Before last night, Sevilla had won 14 consecutive two-legged ties in the UEFA Europa League. Leicester City had only beaten one team over two legs in any European tie – and that was 56 years ago.

However, this is a Leicester side who shattered the Premier League's glass ceiling last season and who have now used the same winning formula to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

In the words of captain Wes Morgan, they overturned Sevilla's 2-1 first-leg lead by doing what they do best. "We just know one way to play really and that is on the front foot – positive, win our battles, win our tackles and hopefully create goals. That is what we did and that took them a bit by surprise and it worked in our favour," said Morgan, scorer of the first goal that rewarded their ferocious start.

Schmeichel: Rediscovering last season's spirit was key
Schmeichel: Rediscovering last season's spirit was key

A lot has been said of Leicester rediscovering the best of themselves under caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare. Clearly something has changed in the chemistry of the team and their style is a return to last term's template: from the first minute Leicester tore into their visitors, playing with all the aggression of the teeth-baring cartoon dog displayed together with Shakespeare on a giant banner in the Kop Stand before kick-off.

Jamie Vardy, a snappy little Yorkshire terrier, led from the front with his tireless pressing, supported ably by Shinji Okazaki. They were not alone; in two telling vignettes, Samir Nasri and Vitolo each picked up yellow cards when their frustration boiled over after being hounded by other Leicester men.

Leicester's intensity was simply too much and the fact they had not played for nine days helped them sustain it, along with the noisy backing of the impassioned home crowd. "We've been away for warm weather training and that has definitely helped us – we felt fresh," Morgan noted.

Highlights: Leicester sink Sevilla to keep dream alive
Highlights: Leicester sink Sevilla to keep dream alive

According to goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, the message from manager Shakespeare had been to repeat their display in the 3-1 win against Liverpool in the first match after Claudio Ranieri's dismissal.

"We are more back to how we were last season," he said. "We said if we started the way we did against Liverpool we'd have a good chance – that was our aim, to start well and build on that."

They did that with the help of a brilliant early Schmeichel stop from Nasri and the Dane then repeated his first-leg heroics by saving another Sevilla penalty, this time from Steven N'Zonzi with ten minutes remaining. "I always fancy my chances," Schmeichel said. "I had a feeling … and it came off."

A goalkeeper with a feeling is pretty pivotal for any team with UEFA Champions League ambitions – a point underlined by the sight of Schmeichel's father Peter chatting with another former European Cup-winning keeper Peter Shilton down by the dressing rooms afterwards.

Shilton famously won the European Cup with the only East Midlands club to have lifted the trophy, Nottingham Forest. Leicester still have some way to go before matching that feat but this is a team who, like Brian Clough's Forest, certainly believe in miracles.

As Marc Albrighton, scorer of the second goal, put it: "Our game management was fantastic, our determination and hard work, [but] belief was the main one. A lot of people might have thought it was a step too far but we as a group believed we could get the result on the night and it got us through."