Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare denies stabbing Claudio Ranieri in back

Ross McLean
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Stoke City v Leicester City - Premier League
Shakespeare has denied betraying Ranieri (Source: Getty)

Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare insists his conscience is clear over the sacking of ex-Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri, denying that he stabbed the Italian in the back prior to his exit from the King Power Stadium.

Former Chelsea, Inter and Roma tactician Ranieri was axed by the Premier League champions in February, just nine months after guiding the Midlanders to their 5,000-1 title victory.

The Foxes were one place above the drop zone when Ranieri departed, while under Shakespeare their relegation worries have eased with five wins in six matches. On Wednesday they face Atletico Madrid in a Champions League quarter-final first-leg clash.

Ranieri earlier this week absolved his players of blame for his sacking, but hinted that there was someone within the club working against him. Shakespeare last night denied any suggestion of betrayal.

“We have never had any arguments or hard feelings,” said Shakespeare. “Free speech is there for everybody. I don’t have any problem with that. I have a clear conscience.

“My stance is the same from my first interview [as manager] when I stated that I’d spoken to Claudio the night he was relieved. He thanked me for my time, and I thanked him.”

Ranieri said on Monday: “I can’t believe my players killed me. Maybe it was someone behind me. I had a little problem the year before and we won the title. Maybe this year, when we lose, these people push a little more.”

Shakespeare confirmed that skipper Wes Morgan will miss the tussle at the Vicente Calderon Stadium with a back injury, although midfielder Wilfred Ndidi is available for selection after recovering from a tight groin.