No Ranieri grudge, says new Leicester man Shakespeare
Craig Shakespeare said there were “no grudges” between himself and Claudio Ranieri on Monday after he succeeded the Italian as Leicester City manager.
Ranieri was sacked last month, nine months on from Leicester’s fairytale Premier League title triumph, after the club slid towards the relegation zone.
Shakespeare took over as caretaker manager and was on Sunday confirmed as manager until the end of the season following 3-1 wins over Liverpool and Hull City in his first two games.
“Of course I’m part of that back-room team, but it’s about time we all moved on,” Shakespeare told a press conference prior to Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 second leg at home to Sevilla.
“I bear no grudges, Claudio bears no grudges. We have to try and move on as a football club.”
Shakespeare previously worked as Ranieri’s assistant.
Asked if he had spoken to Ranieri since his appointment as manager until the end of the season was confirmed, Shakespeare replied: “We haven’t spoken since.
“But I said last week, when we spoke he wished me luck. We’ll probably be in contact and I have no problem with that.”
In an online poll run by local newspaper the Leicester Mercury, 92 percent of respondents backed Shakespeare to become Leicester’s next manager, but he played it down.
“If we’d have lost both games, it would probably have been one or two percent and that would probably have been my family!” Shakespeare said.
Leicester are seeking to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg against Sevilla and Shakespeare says his players will approach the match with renewed self-belief.
– Player support –
“It will be a special occasion at the King Power,” he said.
“The atmosphere will be electric. I’m expecting the team to take the momentum from the two results, to take the confidence they’ve gained from that and really play on the front foot.
“That’s not saying we’ll be open as we know Seville have some very, very world-class players. But it makes for a very interesting game because of the away goal.”
Shakespeare, 53, was cautious when asked if he wanted the job beyond the end of the season, saying he would “take stock in the summer”.
But midfielder Danny Drinkwater said the players were all hoping for Shakespeare to land the role on a long-term basis.
“On behalf of all the players, I think all of us would love to see him get the job long-term,” Drinkwater told reporters at King Power Stadium.
“We were all very happy when it got announced that he was getting the job until the end of the season and I’m sure it’d be the same reaction whether it be long-term or not.”
Leicester’s players trained beneath bright sunshine on Monday in their pre-game training session.
Shakespeare said French midfielder Nampalys Mendy will miss the match after taking a knock to the knee, but could be fit for Saturday’s trip to West Ham United in the league.
Asked if Leicester could replicate last season’s 5,000-1 title win by triumphing in the Champions League, Shakespeare replied: “Why not?
“We’re in it. There’s no free game in football. You have to try and win every game.
“You have to show that determination, that competitiveness, and we need to show that in abundance tomorrow night.”