Sean Dyche has received glowing encouragement from Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers in the face of mounting pressure on the Burnley manager.
Dyche’s Clarets take on Rodgers’ side at Turf Moor on Sunday on the back of a four-match losing run in the Premier League – in which they have scored only one goal – that has left the club perilously close to the drop zone.
Not for the first time in his seven-year reign at the club, Dyche is facing questions about his methods.
Rodgers, manager at Watford for a short spell in 2008-09 when Dyche worked with the Under-18s, has the utmost respect for a man he could see then had “leadership qualities”.
“He is a guy I know well,” said Rodgers. “He is a real student and a deep thinker of the game, and as a coach he is first class.
“He is very progressive, his teams have clarity in how they work, the players understand their roles, and he has them super-organised and committed.
“Like us all, in various sections of the league, there is a limit in terms of budget which gets you certain types of players.
“What he does is give confidence to the players he brings in, where it might not have worked out for them at other clubs.
“Absolutely no disrespect to Burnley, but if there was an opportunity at a higher level for him, then he could go on and do that, without any shadow of a doubt.”
Like Dyche, Rodgers is looking for a reaction from his own side, whose standards have slipped of late since a remarkable run of eight straight league wins from mid-October through to early December that propelled the Foxes into the title fight.
Back-to-back defeats at Manchester City and at home to Liverpool either side of Christmas added a dose of reality to Leicester’s campaign that struck a low with last Saturday’s miserable home loss to Southampton.
“Against Southampton it was pretty clear the energy in the team, and the intensity level, was nowhere near what we wanted,” said Rodgers, whose side still remain firmly in contention for a Champions League place.
“So we have to grow from that, from a technical and mental perspective. It’s something we’ve looked at this week, and the players have responded very well, with no other solution than to work hard – twice as hard.”
Rodgers has conceded he has had to “take a deep breath and go back to the basics of the game” in light of his side’s dip in form.
He added: “For us, everything is based around our football and how we play, our creativity, and that all starts from how we defend.
“So it’s been about reinforcing that aggression, our tactical discipline, those facets of the game that are very important to us.”
Defender Wes Morgan is an injury doubt with a groin problem, while creative midfielder Wilfred Ndidi remains sidelined following a recent minor knee operation.