Four games, four wins. Craig Shakespeare couldn’t have asked for a better start to his stint as Leicester City manager.
He kickstarted life after Claudio Ranieri with an impressive 3-1 win over Liverpool and hasn’t looked back. Saturday’s 3-2 win at West Ham leaves the Foxes now six points above the relegation zone and looking upwards.
But Shakespeare’s most impressive victory so far was the 2-0 win over Sevilla in the Champions League.
Leicester trailed 2-1 heading into the reverse leg at the King Power Stadium but goals from Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton turned the tie on its head and set up a juicy quarter-final matchup against Spanish giants Atletico Madrid.
Diego Simeone’s side have appeared in two out of the last three Champions League finals and are heavy favourites to reach the final four.
But Shakespeare is confident his rejuvenated team can spring a surprise, and why shouldn’t he be?
“Facing a team who have reached the final in two of the last three seasons is a massive challenge but it’s just the kind of tie you expect in the quarter-finals of the Champions League,” he said, per the Mirror.
“Atletico Madrid are a very good team with some fantastic individuals with experience in the competition but we’ll be ready to give everything to progress.
“It will be a brilliant occasion for our supporters and for everyone at the club but, before the players can begin to think about these games, we have Premier League matches to come that are of huge significance to our season. They will be our sole focus.”
It’s safe to say Atletico won’t take Leicester lightly. Simeone will be aware that Ranieri’s sacking has sparked an upturn in energy and will remind his players that the reigning Premier League champions have scored 11 goals in their past four matches.
The Argentinian will also hope to see his main man, Antoine Griezmann, step up.
The Frenchman has enjoyed another fantastic season in Spain, scoring 22 times in all competitions. And he’s expecting Leicester’s forwards to cause problems for Atleti’s defence.
Griezmann highlighted Leicester's two threats
Speaking on a webchat for L’Equipe, Griezmann admitted Riyad Mahrez is a “great player” and highlighted the threat posed by Jamie Vardy’s speed.
“If we want to reach the final like last year, we need to beat everyone,” he said.
“Upfront they have pace with Vardy, [Riyad] Mahrez is a great player. At the back they're strong. It will be tough to get past them.
“I watched the match against Sevilla – from dead balls they can cause us damage.”
It’s going to be a fascinating encounter.
Who will progress between Leicester and Atletico Madrid? Let us know in the comments section below!
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