Tuesday 16 October 2018

Claude Puel focus

New Leicester manager Claude Puel celebrates the Foxes' second goal in their win over Everton on Sunday.
New Leicester manager Claude Puel celebrates the Foxes' second goal in their win over Everton on Sunday.

Claude Puel's first game in charge of Leicester ended in a 2-0 win over Everton at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

Here, Press Association Sport studies how the former Southampton manager started his reign.

Reaction

Puel was afforded polite applause rather than a rapturous reception before the game - before he made an appearance on the touchline - while there was no fanfare when he did take his seat in the dugout. He was granted a bigger reception at the end after Leicester's comfortable victory lifted them into mid-table after they had dropped into the bottom three before Craig Shakespeare was sacked.

Team selection

The Frenchman made two changes from Leicester's 2-1 win at Swansea last week under Michael Appleton. He dropped Marc Albrighton and Shinji Okazaki - two of the hardest working members of the squad - to the bench and replaced them with Ben Chilwell and Demarai Gray. Gray repaid him with a fine performance while Riyad Mahrez also impressed after he was switched into the middle to play behind Jamie Vardy.

Performance

Southampton finished eighth under Puel last season and scored just 17 league goals at home but Leicester began like they wanted to make a mockery of that statistic. Gray, Chilwell and Wes Morgan all went close in the first 10 minutes before Vardy opened the scoring soon after following Gray's brilliant run. Gray's goal, with a little help from Jonjoe Kenny, gave Leicester some breathing space and they were never threatened by Everton afterwards.

Touchline presence

Puel has earned the nickname 'Whispering Claude' due to his quiet demeanour in press conferences and after the first few minutes patrolling his technical area he headed back to the dugout. He popped up only when he felt necessary, preferring to stay in his seat in contrast to Everton caretaker manager David Unsworth who patrolled the touchline.

Overall

After becoming Leicester's third permanent manager in eight months, Puel will still need to win over the the doubters. Leicester have lost their way badly since their improbable title triumph in 2016 but Sunday's stroll against the Toffees was as good as Puel could have hoped for.

Press Association

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