Friday 23 February 2018

Shakespeare sonnets slick Mahrez show

Leicester 2 Brighton 0

Harry Maguire of Leicester City scores his sides second goal Photo: Getty
Harry Maguire of Leicester City scores his sides second goal Photo: Getty

Nick Mashiter

Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare praised Riyad Mahrez's respect for the club after he inspired Saturday's stroll against Brighton.

Shinji Okazaki and Harry Maguire dispatched the disappointing Seagulls as the Foxes secured a 2-0 win, their first victory of the season.

Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester City and Pascal Grob of Brighton and Hove Albion battle for possession Photo: Getty
Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester City and Pascal Grob of Brighton and Hove Albion battle for possession Photo: Getty

But it was Mahrez who starred at the King Power Stadium as he picked Brighton apart in one of his best performances of 2017.

He shrugged off continued transfer speculation with Roma having three bids rejected, the third being £32million, to shine and set up both the Foxes' goals.

Mahrez has said he wants to leave but Shakespeare has been pleased with his reaction ahead of the transfer deadline this month.

He said: "He made the statement and everyone knows the speculation about the bid we had and it wasn't accepted.

Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester City and Davy Propper of Brighton and Hove Albion battle for possession Photo: Getty
Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester City and Davy Propper of Brighton and Hove Albion battle for possession Photo: Getty

"I've spoken to him individually and said: 'While you're here you need to be professional and respectful of your team-mates and Leicester City Football Club'.

"Credit to him, he's done that. While he remains as focused as his performance here, we all know his ability on the field.

"And while he's in that frame of mind, he'll always be considered for selection.

"He's the type of player who enjoys his football, if he's not training he doesn't enjoy the recovery session. He always says 'I don't want to rest, I want to train', he wants to play all the time."

Newly-promoted Brighton have suffered back-to-back defeats without scoring in their first two games in the Premier League.

They never looked like recovering from Okazaki's early goal and managed just two shots on target, neither of which troubled Kasper Schmeichel.

Boss Chris Hughton said: "We certainly weren't at the level we need to be on the ball but we stuck in there and at 1-0 you have always got a chance.

"They never opened us up as much as they could have, so I felt there was an opportunity for us to play better."

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