Appleton: Leicester players 'wanted questions answering'
Leicester players ‘cheesed off’ by Craig Shakespeare’s sacking demanded answers in a tense team meeting before training on Thursday.
Assistant Michael Appleton, handed the reins for Saturday’s game at Swansea, has revealed that the squad were upset at Shakespeare’s dismissal and wanted to know why the decision had been taken.
Leicester’s Thai owners, who are expected to fly in to watch from the Liberty Stadium stands, will likely address the team about the removal of a popular manager after the match.
Michael Appleton revealed some Leicester’s players were left ‘cheesed off’ after the sacking
Appleton said none of the coaching staff were aware of how perilous Shakespeare’ s position had become and that there ‘wasn’t much wrong’ with Leicester’s performance, pointing to the fine margins at the bottom end of the table.
Leicester go into the Swansea game in 18th, but only three points off tenth.
‘Obviously the meeting before we went out to training was a little bit raw,’ said Appleton, who left Oxford to become Shakespeare’s No 2 this summer. ‘People were disappointed and wanted questions answering, but I’m not the person for that.
‘From my point of view it was all the questions that are for certain senior members and not myself. I didn’t release Craig and I’m not sure of the reasons why.
Craig Shakespeare was dismissed following Monday evening’s 1-1 draw against West Brom
‘We changed the format of training to make sure we didn’t give the players an opportunity to feel sorry for themselves and we had a really good session. It was fun, rather than too much concentration.
‘That seemed to work and that’s the reason why coming off the pitch, from lads who were a little bit cheesed off and down in the dumps in the meeting, they actually came off with smiles on their faces.’
Sporting director Jon Rudkin told Shakespeare his fate on Tuesday afternoon and then informed Appleton he was in interim charge until further notice. The 41-year-old said nobody had any idea what was to come.
Leicester’s players expressed their disappointment in a meeting before Thursday’s session
‘I can assure you no,’ Appleton said. ‘Craig called me into his office and was clearly shocked and then I was asked to go and see Jon, which I did do, and he obviously fed the info to me.
‘I’m sure there is a sense of responsibility among the players. But the feeling within the camp is that there wasn’t that much wrong.’
Appleton, previously manager at Blackburn, Blackpool and Portsmouth, added: ‘Having been there myself, I spent a bit of time on the phone to Craig to speak about how I dealt with it. Over the coming days and weeks he will start reflecting and thinking positively.
Appleton expects Leicester to appoint a British manager with Sean Dyche being considered
‘He was highly respected by all the staff and players at the football club. He is a top, top guy.’
Appleton said he has informed Leicester’s hierarchy he would like to see out his three-year contract as an assistant but accepted a new manager might want to bring in his own staff.
He backed Leicester to go British again, with Sean Dyche among considerations. Leicester are continuing to discuss targets but want a new manager in place before the visit of Everton a week on Sunday.