Morgan hails Leicester after latest Euro heroics
Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton were struggling to comprehend Leicester progressing into the Champions League quarter-finals after their goals helped the Foxes see off Sevilla and continue their incredible European adventure.
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg of the last-16 encounter, the defending Premier League champions tipped the momentum in their favour when captain Morgan somewhat fortuitously turned in Riyad Mahrez's 27th-minute cross.
Albrighton added the second in the 55th minute before Kasper Schmeichel saved Steven N'Zonzi's penalty. That sealed a 2-0 win on the night and a famous 3-2 victory on aggregate.
Morgan said: "Incredible, I can't quite believe it. We're newcomers in the Champions League, we didn't expect to get this far and here we are.
"I'm not sure this is ever going to happen again, but we did it. We proved a lot of people wrong. It was a big game for us. We've pulled off the impossible again."
Albrighton added: “I’m a bit lost for words, what a night! I think we thoroughly deserved the victory, we pressed them from the first whistle to the last and rode our luck at times, defended triumphantly and to get the two goals against such a good team and keep a clean sheet is fantastic for us.”
Morgan admitted he did not know too much about his goal, saying: “I didn’t see the ball come in, I just bundled it in. But I was in the right place at the right time, I suppose, and I’m just happy it went over the line.”
Leicester join European heavyweights Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid as the confirmed sides in the last eight.
A glamour tie is guaranteed, but Morgan said: “We’ll just take whoever comes.
“We’ll enjoy the moment, it’s a fantastic night for Leicester. Let’s dust ourselves down, we’ve still got to concentrate on the league. But we need to enjoy right now.”
Boss Craig Shakespeare said he believes the Foxes can be the “surprise team” of this Champions League after what he described as one of the greatest nights in the club’s history.
Appointed caretaker for the sacked Claudio Ranieri on the day after the 2-1 first-leg defeat in Seville, Shakespeare oversaw a transformed performance, where the Spanish side struggled to live with Leicester’s intensity.
Because of how the English champions overcame a side of such pedigree, who have won the last three Europa Leagues, the interim boss now feels they can go even further.
“Well, we know there’s going to be some terrific teams, as there was in the previous rounds,” Shakespeare said. “Sevilla’s record is for all to see.
“We might just be the surprise team but we know the quality of teams in there is getting down to the real serious business now.”
Asked where this ranked in Leicester’s history, Shakespeare felt it sat at the top. The club has certainly never got so far in Europe.
“I think it has to stand right up there because of the quality of the opposition,” Shakespeare said. “We knew when the draw was made, people went ‘ooh Sevilla’, we knew what they’re about. It has to stand up there.”
As regards to whether he had a preference for the quarter-final draw, Shakespeare simply stated: “no”.
The 53-year-old did pay credit to Ranieri when asked, but said that the win immediately after his sacking against Liverpool was key to fostering confidence of this continental win.
“Of course, we spoke before, Claudio will always be fondly remembered by everyone at this football club, for what he and everyone achieved,” he added.
“The performance in the first leg, when Claudio was in charge, gave us the springboard.”
So did the 3-1 win over Liverpool, however.
Shakespeare added: “The home win against Liverpool, you could see the confidence. Then the Hull game was important. We gained more confidence.”