Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Leicester must avoid stupid bookings, warns Shakespeare

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 11 Apr 2017

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Craig Shakespeare has urged Leicester City to avoid “stupid” bookings when they face Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Jamie Vardy, Robert Huth, Wilfried Ndidi and Islam Slimani would all miss the return match if they were to collect a yellow card at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday.

And Shakespeare stated he will be telling his players to be careful not to pick up avoidable bookings when they face the Liga outfit.

“We are very well disciplined as a team, but yes, the players will be reminded about their responsibilities and not to get any stupid cards for things like encroaching,” Shakespeare said at his pre-match press conference.

“Game management is always important, never more so than in Europe, with where the game momentum might go. You have to be prepared for the ‘what ifs’, but we will be ready for that.

“I think it is a huge compliment to be compared to Atletico. Their team ethic is one of their strengths, like ours, so I take it as a compliment.”

Shakespeare has led Leicester to six wins in his seven games in charge since succeeding Claudio Ranieri and the Englishman insists he is focusing on the strengths of his own side, rather than on how to stop Diego Simeone’s men.

“We will show them the respect they deserve,” Shakespeare said. “Atletico’s style is well-documented, in terms of a team that press high. 

“But it is about what we do tomorrow night. We are aware of their strengths, but we are also aware of our strengths.

“You use life experiences as you go along. You have new experiences, as this has been for us in the Champions League. We have enjoyed it, but we are there to compete and not make numbers up. These players have earned their opportunity and we intend to keep that going tomorrow night.”

Leicester will be without their captain Wes Morgan, with the centre-back failing to recover from a back injury in time for the tie, but Shakespeare hopes midfielder Ndidi will be available.

“There’s no chance [of Morgan playing]. He’s here and he travelled with the team, but he’ll take no part in the game,” Shakespeare said.

“Wilfred is fine. He trained partly yesterday and he’ll take part in the whole session today [Tuesday]. Hopefully he’ll come through that okay, which is what we’re expecting.”

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