Shake­speare coy over Le­ices­ter fu­ture

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LE­ICES­TER: 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.

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.

“I don’t think you can take any­thing for granted,” Shake­speare said.

“I have an as­sis­tant man­ager’s con­tract af­ter the end of the sea­son so I have to makes 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.

“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.

“I’m re­ally pleased with the re­sult. I’ve spo­ken many oc­ca­sions about the im­por­tance of the first goal, with our home record and their away one it was al­ways go­ing to be im­por­tant.

“It’s pleas­ing to get a clean sheet. It was a bit of an in­dif­fer­ent per­for­mance in the first half but in the sec­ond half we were more of a threat.

“We had more pace about us when we needed to. It felt at the end of it a 3-0 com­fort­able vic­tory.”

Wat­ford’s poor run on the road con­tin­ued but man­ager Wal­ter Maz­zarri in­sisted the score­line was 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.

“We com­mit­ted two in­di­vid­ual mis­takes and the third was counter-at­tack. In the game we were at the same level as Le­ices­ter.” AFP

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