London - Former Premier League champions Leicester City on Wednesday named
ex-Southampton boss Claude Puel as their new manager following the
sacking of Craig Shakespeare last week.
Leicester won the title under Claudio Ranieri in 2015-16 but parted
company with the Italian in February and despite a good recovery under
Shakespeare at the end of last season, they are only a point above the
relegation places this term.
Puel, 56, also a former manager of Monaco, Lyon and Nice in France,
will take charge of his first game on Sunday when the Foxes host Everton
at the King Power Stadium.
"When we began the process of identifying a new manager, the board
quickly established the profile of candidate we needed to take the club
forward and Claude Puel was a perfect fit," said Leicester City
vice-chairperson Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha.
"Upon meeting Claude, his attention to detail, knowledge of our
squad, understanding of our potential and his vision to help us realise
it were extremely impressive.
"He quickly emerged as the outstanding candidate and I am delighted
we will have the opportunity to reinforce our long-term vision, aided
significantly by his expertise."
The Frenchman, who was dismissed by Southampton in June after just
one season in charge despite finishing eighth in the Premier League,
said it was a "great privilege" to become the new Leicester manager.
"The opportunity to help the club build on its remarkable recent
achievements is a truly exciting one and I'm looking forward to working
with the owners, players, staff and supporters to deliver further
lasting success," he said.
Puel also has European pedigree, steering Lyon into the Champions
League finals semi-finals in 2010 - masterminding a 2-1 aggregate win
over Real Madrid along the way.
Leicester shocked the football world two seasons ago by seeing off
the Premier League powerhouses to secure the title, with the likes of
Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez stealing the headlines.
But despite reaching the Champions League quarter-finals last year,
Leicester struggled in the league until a late-season flourish lifted
them to 12th in the table.
This season has been another struggle, with just two wins in their
first nine fixtures, although they eased the pressure at the weekend
with a 2-1 victory at Swansea City, which lifted them to 14th in the
Shakespeare, 53, was promoted from his role as assistant coach on an
interim basis following the shock dismissal of Ranieri and in June he
was handed a three-year contract.
Puel will be supported by Michael Appleton, who retains his role as assistant manager.