Steve Shakespeare: ‘We’ve got a good squad’ (Reuters photo)
LIVERPOOL – Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare said Sunday’s 4-2 loss at Everton, his first defeat since taking over from Claudio Ranieri, would not affect his squad as they prepare for a Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid.
The champions had won all five Premier League games under Shakespeare, as well as defeating Sevilla in the Champions League, but despite being 2-1 up after ten minutes, the winning run ended at Goodison Park.
Yet Shakespeare said he had no fears their confidence or momentum would be hampered before the first leg of their historic tie in Madrid on Wednesday.
“I don’t think so at all. The players are resilient. I have just told them we have been on a really good run and we have to start again, we have to go on another good run,” he added.
Shakespeare made five changes at Everton and confirmed he had done so with future fixtures in mind.
“I think the team selection was with the games coming up in mind. We’ve got a lot coming up — Wednesday, Saturday and Tuesday — but we’ve got a good squad,” he said.
“We didn’t come to try to get a point, the team was picked to try to get three points. The selection was about squad rotation more than anything else.”
Despite going down to a Tom Davies goal in the first minute, Leicester fought back to lead 2-1 before Everton regrouped and put the game beyond them.
Shakespeare fell one game short of equalling the record for a manager’s best start to a career in the Premier League, the six-match landmark held jointly by Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola.
Yet he was unconcerned about personal milestones, being more worried about his team’s defending at corners, which cost Leicester the decisive last two goals.
“Everton have some very good offensive players but in general it was the set plays that were the most disappointing because ultimately they have won the game on two of those,” he said.
“We weren’t aggressive enough and didn’t have enough intent to go and attack the ball, so from that point of view it was more of how we defended as a team.”
Shakespeare confirmed the expected news that captain and central defender Wes Morgan would not be able to play in Madrid due to the back injury which kept him out of the clash at Goodison.