Player power didn’t force Ranieri out says interim boss

(FILES) This file photo taken on August 13, 2016 shows Leicester City's Italian manager Claudio Ranieri (L) gesturing as he talks with Leicester City's English striker Jamie Vardy (R) on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Hull City and Leicester City at the KCOM Stadium in Kingston upon Hull, north east England on August 13, 2016. Premier League champions Leicester City have sacked manager Claudio Ranieri, the club announced in a statement on February 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Lindsey PARNABY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. /

Leicester caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare on Friday rubbished rumours the champions’ title-winning players got boss Claudio Ranieri the sack.

Leicester’s Thai owners stunned the football world on Thursday by sacking the Italian just nine months after he led them to the Premier League title.

Reports claimed seniors figures in the Leicester squad had lost faith with Ranieri’s tactical tinkering and team selections.

But Shakespeare, Ranieri’s former assistant, dismissed reports that players had voiced concerns to the club’s hierarchy.

“I’m not aware of any senior players going to the owners so that’s news to me,” he told reporters.

“From a football point of view I have to tell you that the players are very professional. They are very hurt and very frustrated.

“I’ve not had one problem with them on the training field. They are very diligent and professional.

“They will be very disappointed, like everybody else, that the manager has lost his job.”

Shakespeare revealed he spoke briefly to Ranieri by telephone last night and described the Italian as ‘shocked’.

“I’m very sad,” he said. “I think we all know in football these things can happen.

“We have to make sure we remember him. He will go down with the utmost respect from everybody at this club.”

today in print