Shakespeare urges Leicester not to fall for Atletico ‘tricks’

Date published: Monday 17th April 2017 3:16

Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare has warned the Foxes against falling for Atletico Madrid’s gamesmanship.

The 53-year-old has urged his side to keep their cool ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg at the King Power Stadium.

Leicester lost last week’s first leg 1-0 after Antoine Griezmann’s controversial penalty but are set to welcome back captain Wes Morgan after he missed the last six games with a back injury.

Morgan watched on in Madrid with Atletico boss Diego Simeone and the hosts keen to see Jamie Vardy booked – which would have forced him out of the second leg – while sports scientist Tom Joel was sent from the dugout after the Atletico bench complained when he tried to hand out water to Marc Albrighton.

But Shakespeare wants his side to be streetwise when they try to overturn a 1-0 deficit for a place in the semi finals.

He said: “Our players have to be smart, we have to take our own house and get that in order, we can’t worry about the opposition’s bench – we’ll let the officials take care of that.

“We have to be mindful in terms of us being smart and our game management has to be good. We have to be aware of all those things. Ultimately we have to get our own house in order.

“We will focus on ourselves but be aware of Atletico. We know what we have to do and we can’t sit back for 90 minutes because we need to score.

“There are different ways and come the game we’ll find out if we’ve found a solution.”

Morgan is set to return after coming through training following his back injury, although Shakespeare will leave the call until the morning of the game.

“The final decision will be made tomorrow. I need to see if there is no reaction,” he said. “He has trained the last three training sessions in which the intensity has been greater every one.

“I am pleased with how he has progressed. I would like to find out from the player how his thoughts are. But my eyes tell me this morning we both should be fairly pleased how he has come through.”

Leicester lost at the Vicente Calderon last week after referee Jonas Eriksson awarded a penalty after Griezmann was fouled by Albrighton outside of the area.

Shakespeare said last week the referee made a mistake but insisted he has moved on following the Swedish official’s error.

“No it’s not gnawing away, the referee gave his decision and the last thing the club and players need is me harping on about it,” he said.

“We have to get on with it. The referee made his decision – although its there for everyone to see it’s the wrong one. We have to make sure we’re ready and focused for the game.”

Shakespeare also admitted he will try to prepare his final team-talk but conceded he may let his passion boil over.

“Sometimes you can prepare yourself but sometimes the occasion and circumstances can take over. You can prepare yourself but some things you have to be reactive to,” he said.

“Before the game I’d like to think I’m measured but there has to be a tinge of motivation.

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“I try to get the balance right but some things cannot be manufactured, some have to be there and then. That’s my intent for tomorrow and going forward.”

Atletico, beaten finalists in two of the last three years, are overwhelming favourites to progress but Shakespeare believes the Foxes could cost the bookies again after their 5,000-1 Premier League triumph last season.

He said: “They’ve got it wrong in the past and let’s hope they’ve got it wrong again.

“We know we start as underdogs because of the history of Madrid but we are comfortable with that we know what we have to do and let’s hope we earn people a few bob.”

Christian Fuchs is expected to start, Islam Slimani is struggling with a groin injury and Nampalys Mendy is sidelined with an ankle injury, while Robert Huth is banned.

And left-back Fuchs believes the Foxes can handle the pressure of another big European night because their critics expect them to fail.

“That’s what everyone is expecting from us anyway, what they expected last season. We have such a great team spirit we don’t let it affect us,” he added.

“There’s a lot of pressure all the time, this year it was fighting against relegation and we came out of that. We’re just looking forward to the game and trying to give everything.

“We just enjoy the time we have. We might never be here again. We might be at some point again, but right now it is simply this one game that we have and we try to give everything to be successful.”

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