"You always have to have belief in the players that you work with and they showed a lot of character and endeavour out on that football field," a proud Phelan told HullCityTigers.com.
Few have given Hull much of a hope this season after a summer of turmoil, both in terms of Steve Bruce leaving suddenly, and the ongoing situation with the ownership having an impact on the playing squad and the preparation.
"Everything on the outside seemed to be pointing towards us going the other way, so it was important that the players showed the character that they did regardless of the final result. They did that really well," Phelan added.
"We asked them to show full concentration because, at the end of the day, we were lining up against the champions of the Premier League and we knew they had the pace and skill to hurt us."
Leicester were dominant in the first half but failed to test Eldin Jakupovic in the Tigers goals, leaving Adama Diomande to break the deadlock in first half stoppage time. Riyad Mahrez equalised from the penalty spot, but Robert Snodgrass restored the lead and Hull proceeded to defend resolutely until the end.
"We had to be a collective and we stuck to the task well. Coming back after Leicester had drawn level right at the start of the second half showed the resilience of this team," Phelan continued.
"A couple of players had to play out of position but it was a case of just getting through. Because we only had a small number of players available, they knew exactly what their roles were and how to go about it because we've worked with them all week."
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