Leicester caretaker boss denies players’ revolt claims

Date published: Friday 24th February 2017 2:40

Leicester caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare has rejected any claims sacked boss Claudio Ranieri had lost the dressing room.

The 53-year-old also revealed he was shocked Ranieri was axed, having been told just 10 minutes before the news was made public on Thursday night.

Leicester are a point above the Premier League relegation zone after losing their last five games, having won the title by 10 points last season.

Reports had suggested some players had spoken to the club’s Thai owners to voice their concerns over Ranieri’s reign but Shakespeare dismissed rumours of any unrest.

“I’m not aware of any senior players going to the owners so that’s news to me,” he said. “What I would say, there was a lot of frustration because of results but he hadn’t lost the dressing room,” he said.

“Players have a voice, we have a good group of players who are tactically aware. You listen to the players but it’s the manager who makes the final call.

“From a football point of view I have to tell you that the players are very professional. They are very hurt and very frustrated.

“I’ve not had one problem with them on the training field. They are very diligent and professional.

“They will be very disappointed, like everybody else, that the manager has lost his job.”

The Foxes flew back following the 2-1 Champions League defeat at Sevilla on Thursday, and Ranieri was told he was fired by director of football Jon Rudkin when they landed.

Shakespeare admitted no-one, including Ranieri, saw the decision coming and also insisted his relationship with the former manager had not soured.

He said: “We flew back from Seville, I arrived home and had a call, just before the news broke, from the director of football Jon Rudkin to tell me what was happening, asking me to take care of the next game.

“I’m very comfortable with the relationship, there’s no hidden agenda from me. An assistant manager is there to support the manager in any way the manager sees fit.

“A lot of it has been speculation, with no foundation. My relationship with Claudio has been perfectly fine all the way along. I have never had a problem with him, he has never had a problem with me. I spoke to him after the news broke and he thanked me for my support.

“He seemed fine, a bit shocked but his tone was no different. He was very level headed in terms of ‘that’s football’. Most of the conversation will stay private but his tone was fine.”

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