Sport Soccer

Sunday 22 October 2017

Delight for Craig Shakespeare as Leicester secure Premier League status

Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare celebrates with Marc Albrighton after their 3-0 win over Watford
Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare celebrates with Marc Albrighton after their 3-0 win over Watford

Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare hailed the Foxes' successful survival bid after Premier League safety was assured on Saturday.

Wilfred Ndidi, Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton scored to seal a 3-0 victory against Watford and lift the Foxes into the top 10.

They preserve their top-flight status with three games left while Shakespeare has won seven of his 10 league games since replacing Claudio Ranieri, until the end of the season, in February.

The defending champions flirted with relegation and Ranieri was sacked when they were a point above the bottom three, but Shakespeare saluted their recovery effort.

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

"The result was always going to be important. T here 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. W e 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 on many occasions about the importance of the first goal, and with our home record and their away one it was always going to be important."

Ndidi broke the first-half deadlock when he fired in after Watford failed to deal with a corner before Mahrez marked his 100th Premier League appearance with his 10th goal of the season to make it 2-0.

Albrighton wrapped it up with a breakaway third in injury time and Leicester have now won five straight home games in the league.

Mahrez was unhappy to be substituted in last week's 1-0 win at West Brom but Shakespeare praised his response.

"I'm very pleased. In all the conversations I've had with Riyad he is very self-critical," said the manager.

"He wants to score more goals and thinks he should score more goals. It's pleasing he has turned that talk into action."

Defeat was Watford's fifth straight away league loss and they have failed to score on the road since January.

They have lost seven of their last 11 games, leading to speculation surrounding boss Walter Mazzarri's position, and the Italian blamed defeat on individual errors.

He said: "The result is not nice but it doesn't reflect how the game went. We committed two individual mistakes and the third was counter attack.

"In the game we were at the same level as Leicester. Their goalkeeper was great as well . We should have scored. At the end of the day the game is decided in episodes."

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