Leicester boss revels in historic run of victories

LONDON • Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare moved within touching distance of achieving his main goal of top-flight survival and joined managerial royalty in the process as the Premier League champions beat Stoke City 2-0.

But he admitted he has had to pinch himself after extending his perfect start to life at the helm of the English football club with a fifth successive win.

Saturday's home success saw him become the first Englishman to win his first four games as a Premier League manager.

In doing so, he joined serial winners Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Guus Hiddink and Pep Guardiola as the only managers to achieve the feat.

"I'm very proud," said Shakespeare, whose other win came in the Champions League.

"You sometimes have to pinch yourself in terms of the names being mentioned. I'm at a very, very early stage in my management career but to be mentioned in the same breath of them makes me very proud.

"I realise there are a lot people to thank along the way, in terms of my previous managers when I've been an assistant, but also the players."

Having won his only game as caretaker manager at West Bromwich Albion, Shakespeare has a 100 per cent record from six games after he was promoted from within the Leicester set-up following the sacking of title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri.

But Shakespeare admitted his latest victory had its nervous moments, despite goals from Wilfred Ndidi, with a 25-metre rocket of a shot, and Jamie Vardy clinching what looked like a straightforward success.

"It never felt comfortable," he said. "I did feel that the first goal was going to be important - and what a goal it was. It gave us a foothold in the game, which was very important. The timing of the second goal was vitally important to settle everyone's nerves down and allow them to express themselves."

Leicester continue their quest for Premier League survival when they host bottom side Sunderland tomorrow.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2017, with the headline 'Leicester boss revels in historic run of victories'. Print Edition | Subscribe