Cup win offers relief for Levein

January 9, 2006

Manager Craig Levein rates the 3-2 FA Cup win over Tottenham as the proudest moment of his Leicester career but admits he still has plenty to prove if he is to win over his critics.

The Foxes came from 2-0 down to beat the visiting Premiership side in last night's third-round tie, only eight days after chants of 'Levein out' were reverberating around the Walkers Stadium as City lost 1-0 to Norwich.

GettyImages / ShaunBotterillMark De Vries, Michael Brown and Anthony Gardner fight for possession

Levein had goals from Elvis Hammond, Stephen Hughes and Mark de Vries to thank for victory over the White Hart Lane outfit, who had raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to strikes from Jermaine Jenas and Paul Stalteri.

But with the Foxes languishing fourth from bottom in the Championship table and just one point clear of the relegation zone, Levein knows more flak will be heading his way should City slip up at fifth-bottom Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

The Scotsman said: 'After the Tottenham win we were able to send the supporters home - via the pubs - with a smile on their faces for a change.

'It was the best moment I've had since I've been at Leicester.

'We knocked Charlton out of the cup at The Valley last year and that was special, but because of the pressure we've been under I think beating Spurs tops it.

'There are a lot of positive things going on underneath the surface at this football club but you can only keep telling that to people for so long.

'Eventually you've got to start winning regularly.

'So I think we still need to do more if we're going to silence those critics - we've got to show people there's more to come from this team and I know there's more to come from these players.'

Levein singled out match-winner de Vries for a mention in dispatches after the Dutchman found the net for the first time in 14 games to propel Leicester into the fourth round.

'Mark de Vries was the catalyst for us,' said Levein. 'And I'm thrilled he scored the winning goal.

'He's been as frustrated as anyone with the way the season has gone so far and he has his detractors because when things aren't going well he can look an awkward player.

'But when he's on his game he's a threat to any defence.

'He was fantastic for us but the referee let him compete with the central defenders.

'Strikers competing with centre-backs is the way it should be as far as I'm concerned, but in the Championship Mark's having fouls given against him all the time.'

The Leicester supremo refused to be drawn on reports he was poised to complete the signing of 19-year-old Walsall striker Matty Fryatt.

'He's one of the players we've been looking at,' confirmed Levein. 'But there's been no deal finalised.

'I don't want to say anything more because I don't want to be talking about players who aren't even at the club.'