Brendan Rodgers hailed the steel of his Leicester players after they defeated Burnley 2-1 despite playing for nearly the whole game at Turf Moor with 10 men.
Harry Maguire was dismissed with less than four minutes gone after bringing down Johann Berg Gudmundsson when he was clean through on goal and it appeared a golden chance for Burnley to take a big step towards safety.
Dwight McNeil quickly cancelled out James Maddison’s opener and the Clarets pushed increasingly hard for a second but it was Foxes defender Wes Morgan who got his head to a Youri Tielemans cross for a 90th-minute winner.
Rodgers was taking charge of his third game since replacing Claude Puel, and said: “I have been with them for a couple of weeks and they have been a joy to work with.
“They showed a different side to their game. I said before that, when you come to Burnley, style alone won’t get you points. You need to have steel. I am very proud of the team. We showed a wonderful persistence.”
Rodgers had no complaints with referee Michael Oliver’s decision to dismiss Maguire.
“I think he made the right call, much as it goes against us,” said the Foxes boss. “We can deal with it better before it gets to Harry. Players are clever and will use the contact.”
Rodgers has already said he wants Morgan to be given another year on his contract, and he said of the defender, who was an early substitute following Maguire’s red card: “I have watched him over a number of years. He is a very honest professional and his history at Leicester is incredible.
“I said to him yesterday, ‘keep an eye on Peter Crouch because, if he comes on, you’re coming on’, but he came on much earlier.
“Wes’ header was brilliant. He is someone I feel is very important. He won’t play as much but his influence in the changing room is very good.”
The result was a bitter blow for Burnley, who remain two points above the Premier League relegation zone but have now played a game more than their rivals.
Boss Sean Dyche said: “Mostly you are frustrated but disappointed. To concede a goal that cost you in the dying embers. It was completely avoidable. We didn’t need to give the corner away in the first place.
“We didn’t quite get to grips with it in the first half.
“It was a really good goal from Dwight. He was a shining light today. We didn’t really find the real clear moments.”
Burnley appealed for several penalties in the second half, with the strongest coming when Charlie Taylor cut across Wilfred Ndidi and went down, but referee Oliver decided there was not enough contact.
Dyche has been a fierce critic of diving but felt Taylor was hard done by, saying: “I am not going to start harping on about it. I just think it is a sad state of the game.
“Charlie Taylor falls naturally. I think you’d do well to find he hasn’t touched him.
“I feel for the referees. I think their eyes are that trained to diving. We should have taken care ourselves, but at 1-1 that is a really big moment.”