Leicester City have struggled to reignite the flames of their fairytale 2015-16 campaign this season but that could all be forgotten following their victory over Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Although not many observers predicted the Foxes to repeat their championship-winning heroics of last season, most expected a top-half Premier League finish and a decent run in the Champions League.
If their Premier League title defence has been awful then their first-ever Champions League campaign has been simply spectacular.
Defeat to a side that is currently three points behind Barcelona in La Liga would have been no embarrassment, but the Foxes showed they are more than a match for anyone on home turf with a brilliant 2-0 win.
— Christian Fuchs (@FuchsOfficial) March 14, 2017
Captain Wes Morgan bundled home midway through the first-half to send Leicester on their way before Marc Albrighton’s low shot from the edge of the area booked a place in the quarter-finals.
That’s five victories, a draw and two losses from their maiden journey in the Champions League.
Ahead of Wednesday night’s fixtures, the confirmed quarter-finalists are Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Real Madrid and Leicester. Rub your eyes Foxes fans!
A place in the quarter-finals qualifies as a once-in-a-lifetime moment for their supporters, with even the biggest optimists not expecting to hear the Champions League music again.
Buoyed by their achievements in Europe’s top club competition, there is now the opportunity for the gloom to be permanently lifted after their poor domestic showing.
Even in the Premier League there is still a chance the Foxes can have a successful finish and not sour the achievements of last season.
They are currently six points behind Southampton, who are in tenth position, following back-to-back victories over Liverpool and Hull that lifted them out of the relegation zone.
The Foxes have home games left against the likes of Stoke, Sunderland, Watford and Bournemouth, as well as away fixtures against Crystal Palace and West Ham.
And, if they can show anywhere near the form they showed on Tuesday night then more positive results should come to catapult them up the table.
Craig Shakespeare, who has been given the manager’s role until the end of the season, has reinvigorated the players since replacing Claudio Ranieri and, if he can keep their current run going, a top-half finish may still be possible.
8 – Leicester's victory means England have now had more different teams reach the CL quarter-final than any other nation (eight). Rule. pic.twitter.com/ZM3JGrJbur
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 14, 2017
It’s now time for the Leicester heroes from last term to step up and show the world that it wasn’t just a freak season, and that they are top players.
There is no doubt the whole footballing world was devastated to see Ranieri get the chop last month, but did the board do the right thing?
It now seems clear there was something wrong – whatever it may have been – with this Leicester side now looking capable of the same counter-attacking brilliance they showed under the Italian last term.
Ranieri’s time at the King Power Stadium will always be tarnished but the players can now make sure his sacking was worth the heartache.