New Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers insists he understands why Celtic fans are so angry with his exit.
The 46-year-old joined the Foxes on a three-and-a-half year deal on Tuesday after walking out of Parkhead, replacing Claude Puel.
A banner was unveiled during Celtic’s 2-1 win at Hearts in midweek calling Rodgers a fraud, saying he had swapped immortality for mediocrity with the Foxes.
A video shared online also showed supporters chanting abuse at their former manager.
“I’ve seen what’s been said but Celtic supporters will hurt. I understand how they feel,” said Rodgers, who signed a deal until 2022 on Tuesday.
“They are hurting and maybe a little worried in terms of what might happen with me leaving.
“Words, you always have to be careful with. I’ve seen the banner, the Celtic supporters are hurting. They gave me everything so I’m not going to say anything other than that.
“It was a shock and they are probably angry but eventually reality will set in and the work we did will be appreciated.
“But what gave me the comfort to move is what we put in place there was going to stabilise the club going forward.
“I knew, coming away, the improvements made will hopefully allow that success to continue.
“It may be a little unfair on Leicester, I haven’t swapped coming into a mediocre club.
“It’s recent history has been incredible, they have that ambition to push higher than where we are.”
Rodgers’ impact has already been welcomed by the Leicester squad, with the 46-year-old lifting the mood at their Belvoir Drive training ground.
Press Association Sport understands the players have been receptive to his changes, including giving them a monthly training schedule, instead of the weekly plan under Puel.
He takes control with Leicester 10th in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s trip to former club Watford.
“The expectancy is to challenge for a European place and challenge for a trophy,” he said.
“What Leicester achieved was an incredible story, it’s one of the most incredible sporting stories. That will always be difficult to repeat.
“After a couple of years of instability and sitting mid-table, their objective is to move up. I don’t want to put any pressure on the players. We just have to do our very best.
“For the remainder of the season we will look to do that.”
Rodgers is also keen to help vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha after his father and Leicester owner Vichai died, along with four others, in a helicopter crash at the stadium in October.
“He has been absolutely brilliant, when you think of the trauma and all the emotion which surrounds him, I have been absolutely astonished with his own stability,” Rodgers added.
“I feel I can help him on his journey. For the first time he has made decisions without his father and he has been so courageous and brave through the whole process.”
Rodgers is without Daniel Amartey (ankle) and Marc Albrighton (hamstring) on Sunday.
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