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Thursday 21 September 2017

Expecting Foxes to retain title was 'naive', says Albrighton

Marc Albrighton admits Leicester were on a hiding to nothing this season
Marc Albrighton admits Leicester were on a hiding to nothing this season

Leicester winger Marc Albrighton has declared it is job done for the Foxes, even if they were never going to defend the title.

Victory over Watford on Saturday sealed Premier League survival and took them up to ninth - just weeks after they were in danger of going down.

Albrighton wrapped up the 3-0 win in injury time after Wilfred Ndidi and Riyad Mahrez put them on course for a seventh triumph in 10 league games under boss Craig Shakespeare.

And the 27-year-old feels the outgoing champions, who lifted a shock title 12 months ago, have accomplished their targets this season as they eye a top-10 finish, having also reached the Champions League quarter-finals.

"The top six or seven sides are probably ones you'd look at and say that's where they should be. We set ourselves standards with how we played and what we achieved last season," said Albrighton.

"Everybody then automatically wants you to go and do the same again, because that's what champions have done in the past.

"People assume when you've won it that you will be in contention again. That's a rod we gave ourselves by achieving what we did and so we have to deal with the criticism we attracted.

"I'd be very surprised if I see another 5,000-1 team win it in my lifetime. To expect us to go and win it a second year was a bit naive.

"Everybody in football and in sport knew that our last season was fantastic, but probably a bit of a freak season

"If we can finish in the top half and with what we've achieved in the Champions League we can sort of say it wasn't a bad season after all."

Mahrez marked his 100th Premier League appearance with his 10th goal of the season after he was unhappy at being substituted in last week's 1-0 win at West Brom.

Reports have also suggested the Algeria international will look to leave in the summer for a team in the Champions League, but boss Shakespeare insisted Mahrez has given no indication he wants to quit.

"No, he's perfectly happy here," he said.

"I think the response he got when he came off (on Saturday) showed that he's well thought of here, not just by the fans but by his own players and staff as well."

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