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Leicester-Citys-Jamie-Vardy-with-manager-Craig-Shakespeare-at-the-end-of-the-match.jpg

Shakespeare challenges Leicester players to return to Champions League in future

Date Posted,April 18, 2017

Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare insisted the Foxes should want more European drama after they were knocked out of the Champions League.

Jamie Vardy’s goal earned a 1-1 quarter-final second-leg draw against Atletico Madrid but the Foxes went out 2-1 on aggregate.

Saul Niguez’s first-half header grabbed a crucial away goal for Atletico and they held on despite a second-half rally from the hosts on Tuesday.

Shakespeare was proud with the performance but with no European football next season he challenged his players to return Leicester to the competition in the future.

“I hope the benefit is they want some more of it. They are very disappointed but can be proud of what they’ve achieved,” he said.

(Photo: REUTERS)
Leicester’s players react (Photo: Plumb Images)
Diego Simeone with Riyad Mahrez (Photo: Getty)
Jamie Vardy applauds the Leicester fans (Photo: Plumb Images)

“As a football club we can be proud of how we’ve conducted ourselves. All players want to play at the highest level and the Champions League is the highest level but we have to get back to winning ways in the Premier League now.

“The feeling is one of disappointment to go out but I’m immensely proud of the performance.”

And after helping guide the Foxes to the quarter-finals after replacing Claudio Ranieri in February the boss would welcome the chance to talk about his future before the end of the season with his contract as manager expiring in June.

The dream is over for Leicester (Photo: AFP)
Diego Simeone and Jamie Vardy embrace (Photo: Getty)

“It’s not in my hands. It’s in the club’s hands, I’ve said we’d sit down at the end of the season, I’m more than happy to do that before if it arises but the contract says until the end of the season,” he said.

“I’ve enjoyed it, pitting your wits against one of the best managers in the world, one of the best sides in the world.

“Now is a time to reflect and I’m sure at the end of the season I’ll be able to reflect on my own performance as well as the club’s.”

Antoine Griezmann’s penalty – when he was fouled outside the area by Marc Albrighton – in Madrid gave Leicester an uphill battle at the King Power Stadium and they looked spent after Saul’s 26th-minute header.

Saul heads in (Photo: REUTERS)
The Atletico star celebrates (Photo: Rex Features)

The visitors produced a textbook display for the first hour, controlling the game, before Vardy smashed in from close range after Ben Chilwell’s shot was blocked.

Vardy, Leonardo Ulloa and Riyad Mahrez all went close as the Foxes pushed for a second which never came.

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