Leicester to channel lessons from defeat

Foxes' run of success under Shakespeare hit by Lukaku double that seals win for Everton

LONDON • The winning run is over for Craig Shakespeare but he will not dwell on a first defeat in charge of Leicester City, only the lessons.

The interim manager was unable to equal Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti in winning his first six Premier League matches as Leicester lost 4-2 to Everton in the Premier League on Sunday.

Emulating the duo's achievements in the Champions League would have been ample compensation.

Leicester may have lost an important Premier League game and momentum in the lead-up to the Champions League quarter-final first leg at Atletico Madrid tomorrow, but there was little evidence at Goodison of a side losing their way.

Shakespeare rang the changes ahead of the club's historic date in Madrid but the team's focus and counter-attacking strategy remained steadfast throughout an absorbing game.

There will be concern at the champions' defending without Wes Morgan, whom Shakespeare confirmed will miss the first leg with a back problem, and the lapses in concentration from his replacement, Yohan Benalouane.

WHERE THEY WENT WRONG

We weren't aggressive enough and didn't have enough intent to go and attack the ball, so from that point of view it was more of how we defended as a team.

CRAIG SHAKESPEARE, manager of Leicester City, on why his team will not lose momentum despite the loss to Everton.

But, better to be exposed and learn at Goodison instead of the Calderon.

"I don't think we will lose momentum because of this," Shakespeare said. "Footballers are resilient and these players are resilient. I told them afterwards that we have been on a really good run and now we have to go on another.

"We came up against a potent threat in Everton (who won a seventh home game in succession). They have some very good players but two set plays (which led to the lest two goals) was the most disappointing thing. They have won the game on that.

"We weren't aggressive enough and didn't have enough intent to go and attack the ball, so from that point of view it was more of how we defended as a team."

Home-grown 18-year-old midfielder Tom Davies put Everton ahead after only 31 seconds, following a dart into the box by Kevin Mirallas.

Demarai Gray released Islam Slimani to level in the fourth minute and six minutes later Marc Albrighton's free kick from wide on the left embarrassed Joel Robles to put Leicester ahead.

But Romelu Lukaku equalised in the 23rd minute, heading in an exquisite cross by Ross Barkley, and, after Phil Jagielka had headed in from a corner, Lukaku smashed in his second goal with more than half an hour to play.

With those strikes, Lukaku extended his tally to 23 league goals and underlined why suitors will have to pay £100 million (S$174 million) to lure him away from Merseyside.

Christian Fuchs and Danny Simpson will return at full-back in Madrid and Wilfred Ndidi will stiffen the base of the midfield, but how Leicester could have done with captain Morgan shrugging off his injury in time.

The pairing of Robert Huth and Benalouane will have to perform with rather more certainty than they managed on Sunday if Leicester are to get anything out of their trip to the Spanish capital.

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2017, with the headline 'Leicester to channel lessons from defeat'. Print Edition | Subscribe