Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Proud Shakespeare wants Leicester City to push for more Champions League football

Proud Shakespeare wants Leicester City to push for more Champions League football

It was a performance which came on the back of a run of 16 points from their last seven Premier League matches since Claudio Ranieri was sacked - form bettered in the top flight only by Spurs during the same period.

As it is they return to the humdrum of the Premier League's mid-table with little prospect of rubbing shoulders with Europe's elite any time soon.

Brave Leicester's Champions League dream ended as they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Atletico Madrid. "The players can be immensely proud of their performance, but we're ultimately disappointed to go out", he added. "Now we've had a taste of it, we want more".

"When I came here five years ago my only hope was to make Atletico a competitive team again and bother every team that we faced, and I think we are competing", said Simeone, who had to rejig his defence after losing Juanfran and Filipe Luis to injury in the second half.

Instead, the quarterfinal second leg provided a snapshot of the kind of resolve that stirred a remarkable chapter in the history of Leicester City.

He confessed he wants to lead that charge next season and is ready to bring forward talks about his long-term future, if the club's owners want him to.

"It's not in my hands".

"It's not in my hands", he said. I'm more than happy to sit down before that if it arises. My contract says until the end of the season. That was a new experience for a lot of the lads and we have given it our all. He has gone toe-to-toe with one of the best managers in world football and not been intimidated. We spoke about playing direct, playing Jamie Vardy off Leonardo Ulloa and playing with wing-backs.

Atletico Madrid are a side built in the image and likeness of their manager Diego Simeone - talented, uncompromising and streetwise.

But Leicester, who needed to score three to progress, could not force another one and England striker Vardy said the Foxes they gave all they could. "We lived in fear all night".

"In terms of effort, commitment, application - as a group we were tremendous".

Atletico have now reached their third semi-final in four years but boss Simeone admitted the Rojiblancos survived a major scare.

"When you talk about the greats of Europe, you have to put a financial slant on things", he said. It was a finalist in both 2014 and 2016 but beaten by neighbour Real Madrid on both occasions.

Marco Asensio also scored late for Madrid, which advanced 6-3 on aggregate after a 2-1 first leg win in Germany.

The English champions fought but were dumped out of the quarter finals of the Champions League by the Spanish giants.

"The fans have got us through the 90 minutes".

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