Shakespeare plays down possibility of extended contract

Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez scoring his side's second goal in the 3-0 home win against Watford. The three points earned by the victory pushed them into the top half and ended any doubts about the Foxes being relegated.
Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez scoring his side's second goal in the 3-0 home win against Watford. The three points earned by the victory pushed them into the top half and ended any doubts about the Foxes being relegated.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Craig Shakespeare insisted he is not taking a contract extension as Leicester manager for granted despite enhancing his claims with a 3-0 home win against Watford on Saturday.

The Foxes guaranteed their Premier League safety as Shakespeare took his own tally to 22 points in 10 league games at the helm since replacing the sacked Claudio Ranieri earlier this year.

Shakespeare also led Leicester into the Champions League quarter-finals after a last-16 win over Sevilla.

But the former Leicester assistant manager, whose initial contract as boss is due to expire at the end of the season, insists he is not counting on the club extending his deal for next season.

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"I don't think you can take anything for granted," said the 53-year-old, who also admitted he had received no indication from club chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and is waiting until the season ends. "I have an assistant manager's contract after the end of the season so I have to make sure I do everything professionally.

"As long as you're professional that's the way you have to be.

"The contract states 'until the end of the season'. I have said about eight times this afternoon I will sit down at the end of the season, which I'm quite comfortable with."

Goals from Wilfred Ndidi, Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton ensured a comfortable win against a Watford side who have now lost five successive away league games without scoring.

And three points ended any lingering worries about relegation for a team who were just a point clear of the bottom three when Shakespeare took charge in February.

Leicester are now ninth in the league table.

"It's one we can look at now, the whole club, and we can be very pleased we have managed to secure Premier League survival," he said.

"The result was always going to be important, there hasn't been any points target and we just want to finish as high as possible.

"To do that you have to beat the opposition, we have three games left - two at the King Power and one away - and I want to finish on a high and I'm sure the supporters want us to finish on a high."

Watford's poor run on the road continued but manager Walter Mazzarri insisted the eventual scoreline was actually harsh on his side, who held their own for much of the first half.

"The result is not nice but it doesn't reflect how the game went," said the Italian, whose position is being questioned after a mixed season.

"In the game we were at the same level as Leicester."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 08, 2017, with the headline 'Shakespeare plays down possibility of extended contract'. Print Edition | Subscribe