Leicester City chairman Mandaric pleads with fans to back manager Sousa
Leicester City chairman Milan Mandaric has made an impassioned plea to the supporters not to turn on manager Paulo Sousa and his players.
Mandaric told the Mercury he likened the current situation to when City were relegated to League One for the first time in the club's history and his call for unity then was heard by the Blue Army.
Mandaric, below, urged supporters not to believe press speculation that Sousa is on borrowed time, but some fans think otherwise after Tuesday's defeat at Norwich – the team's third successive loss.
There were even reports on Tuesday that former City boss Martin O'Neill was being lined up as a successor, but Mandaric said Sousa had the full support of himself and City's new owners, Aiyawatt and Vichai Raksriaksorn.
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"Things go wrong but we can't turn things upside down now, for God's sakes," said Mandaric. "We can't turn around now and say Paulo needs to go! Now is the time for us to show how strong we are together, how united we are behind our manager and give him a chance to get the results.
"I would like to remind everyone what happened two years ago when we had a horrible time going down. At that time I called on everyone to be united and energise ourselves, get behind the new manager and the team, and give him time to show what he could do.
"We had gone down but all the supporters gave undivided support to me, the manager and the team at that time. They didn't know anything about Nigel Pearson at that time, but at the end of the season we put smiles back on their faces.
"I am asking the same again. It is a difficult time, but it is time to be united and not to listen to speculation in some parts of the media. Get behind the manager and give him support. I believe in the manager and the team and we need to give them our support. It is as simple as that. As far as I am concerned I told him on behalf of the owners and myself there is tremendous support for him overall and we all have to pitch in and do the same."
Mandaric said Sousa was just as upset as the supporters following last Friday's 6-1 defeat at Portsmouth, but he urged the fans not to heap more pressure on the manager.
"He is not a happy man and the players are not happy, the supporters are not happy. All of us are not happy," said Mandaric. "But it was just a week ago that we played Portsmouth and we demonstrated our capability.
"Prior to that we beat Cardiff with a good performance. It was not too long ago and we shouldn't forget that, just because of one disastrous game.
"I have met with Paulo and he is unhappy. He has heard the rumours and he knows that it was a game that no one can be proud of, but you have to support the manager.
"What about me when we went down? I spent millions of pounds to turn us around to support the manager.
"I didn't leave the team down and I ask the supporters not to desert the team, let's be united. That is what you have to do in difficult times, and this is a difficult time.''
"We are trying to find the winning formula and, while we are doing this, they need support. It is not easy. We have a really good owner and I have more desire to give support when the results are less successful.
"I will do everything I can to influence things one way or another so that we can turn things around, and give our supporters a winning club."
Mandaric may have sold the club to the Asia Football Investments consortium, but he feels he still has a vital role to play as chairman during a difficult period.
He also urged people not to listen to reports that he is about to take over at Portsmouth again.
"I do feel there is more importance on me to help Paulo," he said. "I am the chairman and I remain in the firing line. I never run away from that. I need to be there and I don't hide.
"I am going to stand behind Paulo and the players and I ask the supporters the same thing.
"The worst thing now would be to go against Paulo and take away his energy. We are all human and he needs support and the players need the support.
"This is the worst time, when you see the speculation from some people about his job, and the speculation about Portsmouth as well. You can't listen to those things.
"The facts are we are having difficulties at the moment, but we will come out of these difficulties.
"We have experienced them before but, unfortunately, that is football for you. We will sort things out, as we have always done before.
"Look at how many times this season we have had a clear penalty not given, or a goal disallowed, how many times we have been unlucky. But we can't dwell on that, we need to win the games."