Football: Sky Blues give Strachan more reasons to see red

Leicester City 1 Coventry City 0
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The Independent Online
CHOOSING TO speak at length with a pocket of supporters after the game must have seemed to Gordon Strachan an appropriate method of dissipating his anger and calming that of the fans - and proving to them that he cares as deeply as they do about the fortunes of the Sky Blues.

The topic of conversation is known only to those privy to the encounter, but one can speculate that it had something to do with a short-lived, though clearly audible, outburst of "Strachan Out" from a section of his team's followers midway through the second period.

The manager was rankled this time not by the decisions of the referee but by his team's lacklustre efforts against a Leicester outfit who are, thanks to a trio of fine results against Chelsea, Liverpool and now Coventry, firmly ensconced in the comfort zone.

In the cold light of day Strachan should have seen that his team too, barring an outrageous string of run-in results, will be with the elite crew again next season. But he would have none of it. Knowing the clubs below had failed to close the gap, he snarled: "It doesn't make me feel any better. I couldn't feel any worse than I do now."

Strachan's reluctance to elaborate, beyond explaining in the politest terms that he had given his players a bit of a talking-to, suggested that his point was quite simple: his team had let him, the fans and themselves down. They were over-run in all areas, but particularly in midfield, where Robbie Savage took charge.

Ian Marshall won the game for Leicester by heading in from Steve Guppy's corner on the stroke of half time. His allround play was spirited and intelligent, his aerial dominance allowing his fellow strikers Tony Cottee and Emile Heskey to pepper Magnus Hedman's goal. His recent performances may yet earn Marshall the new contract he is seeking.

Goal: Marshall (45) 1-0.

Leicester City (4-4-2): Keller; Impey, Elliott, Kaamark, Sinclair; Heskey, Savage, Lennon (Gunnlaugsson, 90), Guppy; Marshall (Fenton, 86,) Cottee (Campbell, 69). Substitutes not used: Arphexad (gk), Miller.

Coventry City (4-4-2) Hedman; Breen, Shaw, Williams, Burrows; Telfer (Hall, h-t), Clement (Soltvedt, 74), Quinn, Boateng; Huckerby, Aloisi (Gioacchini, 60). Substitutes not used: Kirkland (gk), Edworthy.

Referee: J Barber (Pyrford). Bookings: Leicester: Elliott. Coventry: Burrows, Shaw, Quinn, Huckerby.

Man of the match: Marshall.

Attendance: 20,224.

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