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10 Nov 2003
KEEGAN ADMITS ADAMS ADMIRATION

Leicester City boss Micky Adams was praised by counterpart Kevin Keegan after The Foxes inflicted a 3-0 defeat on Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.

The former England boss, who brought in Ray Wilkins to replace Adams at Fulham in 1997, admits he a big admirer of Adams, who steered his side up to 15th in the Barclaycard Premiership table with their third victory of the season.

The Foxes' impressive victory at the City of Manchester Stadium earned them their first points of the campaign away from home, and although disappointed with the performance of his own team, Keegan was quick to recognise the achievement of his opposite number.

"I have a lot of respect for Micky Adams, who has proved himself at all levels. He has gone into clubs with little or no money to spend and shown he is not afraid of taking on tough jobs," said the City boss.

"I wish him well in the future, because he is one of the brightest young managers in the game."

A stunning goal from Jordan Stewart, a penalty from former City striker Paul Dickov and a powerful close-range Marcus Bent header steered Leicester to their biggest Premiership away victory since a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough in November 2000.

The Midlands side have turned things around with successive victories 2-0 against Blackburn and now 3-0 at Manchester City - following their humiliating defeat by Wolves, in which they let a three-goal lead slip.

Leicester's no-nonsense manager is not getting away however, as he stressed afterwards: "We must not become complacent. We are not that good. All we have done is put ourselves back in the pack.

"I am delighted because we have learned the lessons from the Wolves game. Sometimes you need a kick in the teeth. Some harsh words were spoken after that. But there has been a terrific response, not just in the last two games but on the training ground.

"I don't think too many people would have fancied us against City. We gained a little bit of confidence after the Blackburn result [a 2-0 win]."

By contrast, Keegan was left struggling to explain his team's poor home form after another out-of-sorts performance, which came on the back of an indifferent showing in the UEFA Cup against little-known Polish side Groclin on Thursday night.

The Leicester loss left the Manchester side in sixth place in the table, and Keegan said: "We were playing for a place in top four. You would never have thought that. You would not think this was a team that had a chance to go into a Champions League spot.

"I know it is early season - but that is what we were fighting for.

"I asked the players why our performance was poor. But they didn't know - and if they don't know I would just be guessing. It was a very disappointing performance coming on the back of a good win at Southampton. Leicester worked very hard, but we knew they would."

Keegan also expressed his sympathy for young keeper Kevin Ellegaard, who made his debut for the club because of David Seaman's hamstring injury.

"I am disappointed for Kevin that he comes in and plays behind a side that didn't perform very well," said the disappointed manager. "You would have liked him to get a bit more help and a bit more confidence."

Micky Adams

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