Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

It would be foolish to focus solely on Defoe, insists Shakespeare

By Sean Taylor

Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare has not made any special plans to cope with the threat of Sunderland's Jermain Defoe.

The Black Cats take their fading fight for Premier League survival to the King Power Stadium tonight, hoping to make inroads on the eight-point gap between themselves and safety.

Defoe has scored 14 league goals in a struggling side this season and is seen as pivotal to any hopes Sunderland may have of avoiding the drop.

Shakespeare acknowledges the threat posed by the 34-year-old, but he will not afford any special treatment to the player who scored the winning goal in the reverse fixture at the Stadium Of Light in December.

"We have spoken about Jermain Defoe in our preparation and we know what kind of threat he can be. His record speaks for itself. But we won't man-mark him," said Shakespeare.

"I was pleased to see him back in the England squad and he took his goal really well. Any team that has Jermain Defoe in it will be dangerous and we must keep him quiet.

"But he is not the only dangerous player Sunderland have - they showed what they can do by winning 4-0 at Crystal Palace a few weeks ago."

Leicester have improved markedly under Shakespeare's stewardship, winning all five matches in all competitions. He joined some esteemed company on Saturday as he became the first British boss to win his first four games in the Premier League. Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy scored as Leicester eased to a 2-0 home win over Stoke.

Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Guus Hiddink and Pep Guardiola are the only managers to achieve the feat before Shakespeare. Former Chelsea and Holland boss Hiddink revealed at the weekend he turned down an opportunity to manage Leicester following the dismissal of Claudio Ranieri.

Hiddink claims the decision to appoint Shakespeare was partly down to his advice. Shakespeare said: "It's lovely to hear from someone of that ilk. It's an honour.

"I'm not sure how many people were spoken to but thankfully they've given me the chance. I don't know Guus Hiddink, but I'm thankful to hear those words from someone of his stature."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph