Shakespeare out after dismal run

Riyad Mahrez's 80th-minute equaliser for a 1-1 home draw with West Bromwich on Monday was not enough to save manager Craig Shakespeare from the sack.
Riyad Mahrez's 80th-minute equaliser for a 1-1 home draw with West Bromwich on Monday was not enough to save manager Craig Shakespeare from the sack.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Leicester City sacked manager Craig Shakespeare yesterday, four months after he had signed a three-year deal, having succeeded Claudio Ranieri on a permanent basis and saving the Foxes from relegation.

The 2015-16 Premier League champions have been on a poor run, winning just one of their last 10 league games dating back to last season. Shakespeare had praised his players' resilience, after they snatched a late valuable point against West Brom in their 1-1 draw on Monday night but that was not enough to save his job.

The result left Leicester still in the relegation zone, two points behind 17th-placed Stoke.

The 53-year-old Shakespeare rejoined the East Midlands club in 2011 for his second spell as assistant manager and worked with Nigel Pearson. He remained in the role when Ranieri took over in 2015 and led the club to an improbable league championship a year later.

The Italian was sacked in February with Leicester one point above the relegation zone with 13 matches remaining. Shakespeare took over as caretaker boss.

Popular among the players, he won his first five matches and steered the Foxes to a 12th-placed finish. He also guided them to the Champions League quarter-finals where they lost to Atletico Madrid.

Shakespeare won 11, drew six and lost nine of his 26 games at the King Power Stadium.

He was given funds to spend in the summer and brought in the likes of Harry Maguire for £17million (S$30 million) and Kelechi Iheanacho for £25m.

Leicester have won three times this term, with two of those victories in the League Cup. Their only top-flight win was against newly promoted Brighton in August.

Speaking prior to Monday's game, the Daily Mail had reported Shakespeare as saying: "It's the reality, we all understand that you can draw four games on the trot and the spin becomes that you haven't won for four games.

"With the amount of coverage on TV and radio, social media and online, it's normal now to be questioned after four games."

Club legend and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker was among the first few to voice their unhappiness. He tweeted: "Craig Shakespeare sacked by Leicester. Bring back Claudio.

"Was always a miracle, but it's even more remarkable really that Leicester won the league given the ineptitude of those that run the club."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2017, with the headline 'Shakespeare out after dismal run'. Print Edition | Subscribe