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Champions League won’t derail survival bid

By March 17, 2017No Comments

Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare has dismissed any fears the Foxes will get caught up in their Champions League euphoria.

They go to West Ham on Saturday after being handed a tie with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals following Tuesday’s win over Sevilla.

Shakespeare extended his 100 per cent record as a manager as the Premier League champions edged through 3-2 on aggregate after their 2-0 home win and they are the last English club left in the competition.

But the Foxes are three points above the relegation zone and yet to win away in the league this season – a run stretching back 11 months – with Shakespeare confident they will shake off their European joy.

“I haven’t found it a challenge so far and I can only go on what I have experienced. The talk straight after the game was to improve the away record,” he said.

“I haven’t banned talk of the Champions League but after the game the focus, what I wanted, has been on West Ham.

“We’re in a professional industry and the players know it’s my job and the job of the staff to make sure the focus is there. To a man that’s what they have concentrated on.

“It’s not hard – there are good memories and nice memories but that’s what they are. The sole aim is the next Premier League game, as it’s been mentioned we have a poor away record.

“We want to move away from (the relegation zone) because it is tight down there but we can’t look too far ahead. We’re solely focused on each game as it comes. The players are aware of the record, it’s very hard to put your finger on why (we have struggled away).”

Shakespeare also vowed to continue to play on the front foot, a policy which caught Sevilla cold as they failed to deal with Leicester’s intensity.

He said: “That’s what we hope. That is what is expected. We are at our best when we do that.

“You saw results in terms of the performances against Liverpool and Hull, and now Seville. The players think that’s when they are at their best so that’s what we’ll encourage them to do.”

Nampalys Mendy is doubtful with a knee injury despite returning to training this week.