LONDON • Craig Shakespeare has refused to declare Leicester City's survival battle won despite leading his team into the top half of the Premier League table.
Leicester moved to 10th place after a 2-0 victory against Sunderland on Tuesday that left the Black Cats' manager David Moyes looking doomed to relegation.
The triumph extended Shakespeare's winning run at the start of his Premier League management career to five games and took Leicester to nine points above the bottom three before 18th-placed Hull City hosted Middlesbrough yesterday (this morning, Singapore time).
The Englishman's fifth win from five matches elevated him above Guus Hiddink and Jose Mourinho, who were both in charge of Chelsea, in the list of managers who have made a 100 per cent start to their Premier League careers.
And if Shakespeare can mastermind a sixth straight win at Everton this Sunday, he will draw level with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti.
The Shakespeare run lifted Leicester from 18th to 10th - albeit provisionally - and included 3-1 home wins over Liverpool and Hull City, a 3-2 success at West Ham and 2-0 home victories over Stoke City and Sunderland. But with 36 points, Shakespeare, who replaced the sacked Claudio Ranieri, refused to accept that the job of staving off relegation is complete.
"No, I am still not going to say that because I think we are never quite sure if other teams are capable of going on good runs," he said. "I have been in football long enough to know anything can happen.
"We have to make sure we stay focused and move onto the next one. We have to make sure we prepare for Sunday at Everton because that'll be another big test for us.
"We have to make sure we're ready for each football match. That's my job. We have to be competitive in every game but the idea is to try to win it and that's what we'll do until the end of the season.
"It doesn't feel easy, especially on the sideline. I've never felt really comfortable until the final whistle, so no, it doesn't feel easy."
Consecutive Premier League wins for Leicester City since title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri was sacked.
He admitted that his start to life at the helm had exceeded his own expectations, with his Midas touch extending to inspirational substitutions against Sunderland.
He made a double change, bringing on Marc Albrighton and Islam Slimani and seven minutes later, the pair combined for the opening goal before Albrighton teed up Jamie Vardy for the second.
"I am really pleased with the impact of the substitutions because that is what you make them for," he said. "The first goal was going to be important so to have them both involved was terrific."
Leicester were not at their best against Sunderland but Shakespeare said it is a sign of the confidence coursing through the outgoing champions that they were still capable of winning.
"But we know we have to play better than that," he said.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS