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  1. 72 points
    Claude Puel calls for a Leicester City reality check The City boss discusses the criticism he has received and the speculation over his future, as well as his public image Claude Puel has called for a reality check at Leicester City as he hit back at his critics. City are seventh in the Premier League, but that hasn’t stopped the Frenchman coming under fire from a section of supporters who have become disillusioned with his style of play and the inconsistencies of his young side. Puel has also been the subject of media reports that his job was in doubt on several occasions, and the criticism intensified after he made seven changes for the FA Cup third-round tie at Newport County, and paid the price as Citysuffered a shock giant-killing. Puel admits it has been difficult to manage the negativity that is around his team, but he believes considering the problems his side has faced in the first half of the season and the fact they are competing against clubs with more resources, his side have done a good job to sit seventh in the table. Puel accepts City’s title triumph of 2016 has raised expectations, but he said it wasn’t realistic to think they should be competing in the top six again and called for his emerging young players to be given more time and patience. “I think it’s a shame because for a club to continue to improve we need stability,” Puel said of the criticism and negativity around City. “Stability is not about the speculation around the club, inside, outside the club. It is important to support these young players who continue to improve and put in a good structure in the club, good basics to perform in the future. “We know the normal difficulties to improve young players and get results. Normally it is not possible to improve young players and have the result at the same time. Normally when we improve the young players they perform later. “There is a lot of pressure around the club, but we try to maintain good results and good improvement of lots of players. Leicester City manager Claude Puel leaves the touchline after the Emirates FA Cup, third round match at Rodney Parade(Image: Nick Potts/PA Wire) “Since the beginning of the season I think we have done some fantastic work. I am happy about the work we can do, the hard work my players have given in training and in games. “To finish seventh in the first half season with all problems we have had, it’s a very good performance. If people believe we have to be sixth, that it should be our place, it is not the truth. It’s not possible. “And if they think eighth is not good enough, it’s crazy. “Of course we have difficulties to get a good atmosphere around the club. We need to be clever.” City made seven signings last summer but after the sales of Riyad Mahrez and Ahmed Musa, they had an estimated net spend of just £25million. Puel said the truth was they couldn’t go out and compete with the top clubs in the Premier League for ready-made players, but instead were invested in youth they feel they can develop themselves. “The question is how can we perform at this club? Do we have the same possibilities and money as Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, or Everton, West Ham or Wolves? Do we have same possibilities? No,” said Puel. “How can we compete against these teams? We can’t buy the same players, experienced and consistent with a fantastic level. “We can perform if we can take some talented players, younger and develop them. Harvey Barnes trains with Leicester City for the first time after returning from his loan spell at West Brom(Image: Plumb Images/Getty Images) “Perhaps we have success. Then we keep them and in three to four years we can compete with the great teams. For me it is the only project we can have. “It was exceptional that Leicester won the title. If not it would be easy all the time to win the title. It was exceptional. If people think that was normal in the Premier League it is not the truth. “This club won the title and the expectation from all around the club, from fans sometimes and from people and journalists, the expectation is more advanced. It’s a higher level. “There’s a difference in the possibilities for Leicester and what people want to achieve and dream of, and what they are expect from us. “I accept this but all the time after a bad result there is pressure, and other teams with more money and more possibilities are behind us don’t have noise, speculation or other things. They can work with calm, without a problem. “We know the difficulties and the atmosphere around the club, for me and the players, for the club. “We have to manage this atmosphere and to try to keep all the time our calm and continue this project.” It was a similar story when Puel was manager of Southampton, who he faces tomorrow at King Power Stadium. He was sacked after one season despite finishing eighth in the table and taking the Saints to a cup final, but Puel was unpopular with sections of the supporters who didn’t like the football they witnessed. “Yes, perhaps (it’s the same), because before they finished sixth and the believed after sixth it would be fifth, fourth and so on,” said Puel. “Perhaps it was the same thing, I don’t know, but if we forget who we are it will be difficult afterwards. It is always important to be clever with ambition. “We need to have ambition but ambition to follow a project because the way is different because we cannot pay, we cannot buy. Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City warms up ahead of his side's clash with Leicester City(Image: Plumb Images/Getty Images) “For example, when we lost Riyad Mahrez how can we replace him with the same level? It’s not possible. “We need to find different possibilities with different talented players and with a different profile to give strength to the team. “It costs a lot of money. A good example is Riyad became a great player but he was not a great player when he arrived in the club. “He made progress and I hope other players in our team have the ability to become great players with passion and hard work on the pitch and in training sessions. “To keep the right mentality is the most important thing and some teams can have an interest in our players because they show the world what we can do and the quality we can put into recruitment of young players and developing them - sometimes to buy young players and sometimes to come from the academy and develop. “It’s the way for us.” Puel also addressed his public persona and how that has affected perceptions of him. As he is asked, he shrugs and offers a weary smile. “Ah, the image! I saw in the past a lot of images with different managers,” he sighed. “They had a fantastic image, but now their teams play in the Championship. “The most important thing is not to be spectacular on the bench, it’s to try to perform on the pitch and develop a club and to have good consistency to compete and to make progress and keep ambition, just this.” It seemed Puel was in fighting mode after weeks of speculation and criticism, but he vowed to continue to soak up any negativity aimed at his young squad and vowed he would not waver from his plan. “My job is to take all this pressure without giving pressure to my team and the club. I take this pressure,” he said. “It’s not a problem for me, but I want my players to play without pressure, with freshness and freedom and this is the most important thing to continue their development. “I can take the pressure. I am solid, I have the habits, it’s not a problem.”
  2. 36 points
    If anyone thinks our current standard of football is the worst they've ever seen, they clearly haven't been watching us for many seasons.
  3. 35 points
    “They had a fantastic image, but now their teams play in the Championship." 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏
  4. 34 points
    It is crazy really that he has to 'come out fighting' when we're top half of the Premier League.
  5. 32 points
    Let's flipping back him. #becarefulwhatyouwish4
  6. 30 points
    Thanks for sharing @urban.spaceman! To be honest I'm really glad he's come out and said this, because he's completely correct. It confirms everything we've all speculated on, which is that the club is looking to achieve success by developing players at the club over time instead of spending a sh*t ton of money. Personally this makes me pleased because I think clubs who spend vast fortunes on players lose the soul of their club. I have nothing against a marquee signing or two every summer, but I think fees spent by many clubs, including some of the "surprise" comparisons he gave like Everton and Wolves are both dangerous and have the mercenary feel to them. Our Premier League title was THE definitive title because it captured the quintessential essence of what football is, and captivated the world because of it. We have so many British players, have just got Hamza in and around the first team and recalled Barnes. Throw Chilwell into the mix and that's three local lads (Chilwell for me counts given he's been in the city for over 10 years) who are likely to be first team players quite soon. That is in-****ing-credible job especially when you consider that at the time of writing we are 7th. The one criticism that I think is fair from our fans is that the football is boring to watch. Essentially we all watch football for entertainment so I think it's perfectly fair to crticise a team for not having a go. When we won the title we often had games of less than 40% possession but our counter attacks were breathtaking and got you on the edge of your seat. BUT I do believe we will improve our attacking play over time. The quote about Mahrez is totally true, he was clearly talented but essentially a bit of a fancy dan when he arrived. It took a few seasons for him to blossom into a truly elite player. Bringing Barnes back is a great start as he has that "wow" factor, and we all need to remember to be patient and get behind the lads and club. If Ricardo and Maddison are indicative of the type of player we want to bring in, then we should continue to improve again in the summer. Puel has worked with players like Henry, Hazard, Trezeguet, etc and gave many of them their first chance. In the game against Chelsea, you could clearly see Hazard talking to Puel at the end of the game, which shows you how deep that respect goes. If you could pick one coach to develop your young players, Puel would be right up there alongside Wenger. Another thing about the King Power group... their success has largely come down from being smart and patient enough to have a long term plan and sticking to it. That's how they grew the King Power brand and how they've approached their other business interests. If you look at the job they have done with our own club then they've done an incredible job, and that's ignoring the Premier League title. They have taken a Championship team that has spent most of their time in the Championship into a steady Premier League club, full of British talent with several players at the World Cup. And they are only getting started! Some of my favourite quotes are below, and I think many on here would do well to pay specific attention to these: “We know the normal difficulties to improve young players and get results. Normally it is not possible to improve young players and have the result at the same time. Normally when we improve the young players they perform later. “There is a lot of pressure around the club, but we try to maintain good results and good improvement of lots of players. “It costs a lot of money. A good example is Riyad became a great player but he was not a great player when he arrived in the club.
  7. 28 points
    I like this from Claude. It's clear he has a long-term plan for the club and he's been trying to implement it from the off but has been frustrated. Of course, he has made mistakes but I like the long-term planning. It's also refreshing not to just get the bog-standard, PR-friendly answers.
  8. 26 points
  9. 24 points
    I've been critical in the past of him but he's right, it's about the bigger picture. Our net spend since he's been here has been low yet he's managed to turn us into the youngest team in the league with some great players coming through. Yes, we've had some awful performances but that comes with a young side. I'm 100% behind him now.
  10. 22 points
    Suppose Cardiff, Palace and Newport were freaks too.
  11. 21 points
    Saints Fan In Peace, as they say. Having suffered Puel for a season, reading the comments here is just like re-living that appalling season, when we managed to turn from an attacking entertaining side (just finished 6th, 3 points away from 4th) into the dullest of the dull. After - from memory - the last 7 home games without a goal under Puel, I did not bother to renew my season ticket. All the things you guys are complaining about now, we had exactly the same. Even the bizarre thing with being more likely to win away, than at home. And he got close to ruining some careers, with promising in-comers declining in performance under his regime. And talented players were desperate to leave. The Clueless one is a complete fraud. You have to get rid of him! But don’t get Pelligrino.....
  12. 20 points
    No, but I am OK with that. I actually think we will finish 12th, which is less OK but given this is a transition season and Vichai passed away isn't a disaster IMO. We won't get relegated and have been nowhere near the bottom 3 all season long. There were two ways to go in the summer. Spend money on established players who will make an impact now, the route chosen by Everton and West Ham. Or choose the long term strategy to invest in young players and to develop them. Personally I far prefer our strategy. We are integrating players who have grown up at the club and either support the club or have been here for long enough that they card about the club like the fans do. I'd rather have Chilwell, Barnes, Choudhury and to some extent Maddison than Digne, Wilshere, Nasri and Andre Gomes. The latter are better players right now and more experienced, but are basically slightly above average players that did not make the cut at elite clubs. Our players are LCFC's own! They might also turn out to be highly mediocre (which is what appears to be happening to Gray) but they won't be on mega wages or ready to jump ship at the first opportunity. A lot of people hate Puel which is fine, but what he is doing for our youngsters will likely have a huge impact on the club for the next 5 years. Chilwell, Benkovic, Soynucu, Ricardo, Ndidi, Maddison, Barnes, Gray will likely be in the team for years, only leaving if a mega bucks offer comes in or they can't make the grade. Yesterday we had ALL of our promising young English players playing at the same time. How many other managers in the league would do that? Maybe Pochettino, but not many others. This is a pivotal shift in the club's history. Now instead of hoovering up players from other clubs that are unwanted, we are developing our own that have a route into the first team. West Ham and Everton are stuck in the mercenaries game, whereas we are trying to make our way out of it. I don't see Puel ever being the long term man to win us our next trophy, but he's doing the grunt work to setup the club for someone more charismatic and attacking to come in and reap the rewards. To be honest he reminds me a lot of Theresa May (who by the way I despise) in that essentially no matter what he does, he can't win. He's made a ton of mistakes along the way, but overall what he has started is a very good thing. The thing is that most people aren't good at thinking about the long term, both in football and in life. It's a bit like saving up for a Mortgage, you probably have to give up / cut down on a lot of hobbies and going out for a number of years in order to save up, but if you do it, you have your own place. But is sure as hell isn't much fun at all during that saving up period. Right now as a club, we are setting up for the future, it's the reason why when you are outside the club shop you see the "New Horizons" tag instead of "Fearless." To be honest it makes me very sad as a lifelong fan that despite being in the top 10 of the Premier League, despite having a raft of young English players in and around the first team, despite having the highest number of international players at the World Cup and called up for the England team in years, despite having new facilities on the way and despite all coming together to show our appreciation for a legendary club owner that every single week without fail, all we can do is argue about if the manager should be sacked or not. The irony is that the greatest story in all of football has turned the fan base into entitled whiners. What ever happened to those days when we were 2-0 down at home to Arsenal but roared our team onto draw 3-3? Whatever happened to being 3-1 down to Man United and beating them 5-3? Turning over Sevilla to reach the Champions League top 8 just a few games after Ranieri was sacked? Being bottom of the league for 6 months and still escaping? Beating Swansea 4-0 despite Vardy being suspended? Now it's PUEL OUT! on a day when we start 7th after having beaten the last two Champions in the space of a month. Foxes Never Quit? Never quit moaning more like...
  13. 20 points
    What Puel is having to do at this football club currently is similar to when Pearson first took over. Reduce playing squad, get average age down, change attitudes and style of play. Whilst trying to remain competitive at the right end of the table. We know this doesn’t and won’t happen overnight. Moving on high earners with overpaid contracts who are just not good enough just doesn’t happen in 1/2 transfer windows. The finances at the club are good but we don’t have 25-30 million to sign 11 world class players.....we have to look younger and hopefully turn these into better players. The difference between the top 4 and everyone else this season is one thing Consistancy! Man City/Liverpool may have one awful game in 15 Everyone from 6 down currently can have a small run then garbage for 3/4 matches. Every club has some quality in their sides, but these players can’t always turn in on, if they did every week they would be at one of the above clubs. We need patience with these players and manager.....success at the club may be a season or two away with our main starting 11 but add a couple of players Puel wants and I think we’re not far off a very good side once everything clicks. Whoever was in charge, will still have to oversee squad changes, reduced wage bill, sort an unbalanced squad whilst trying to keep most happy. Thats not to add the extremely unfortunate loss of our owner, a stadium increase to come and a top notch state of the art training complex to hone current and future stars of this football club. A lot is happening at the club behind the scenes. The future at the club will be exciting for seasons to come with what they have planned. Wether it’s Puel or not another manager will have to attend to all the current issues with the squad and I don’t think anyone else will do a better job at it now or in the foreseeable future.
  14. 20 points
    Fake news, folks. I've seen the original images.
  15. 18 points
    But, but he's German, he's got facial hair, and wears designer glasses. Ergo he must be good.
  16. 18 points
    WOW! Drooling over that performance, eh Babylon? Thats 3 defeats (Cardiff, Southampton and The mighty Newport County) in the last 4 games. Give The Messiah time - for he is building! B****cks - he's no builder - he's a demolition expert. Needs to go. NOW.
  17. 18 points
    It about time some of our support understood this is a project and we have'nt got as much money as some think. For the first time in a while it seems like we have a plan.
  18. 17 points
  19. 17 points
    "Puel doesnt say anything in interviews" -Puel makes a substantial statement in an interview that confronts directly "Puel is set in his ways and wont try anything new" -Puel adapts the formation to 433 "Puel still wont play the 433 at home against lesser teams, still persists with 4231 and never shows consistent lineups" -Puel does the exact opposite Wish some people would admit their blatant prejudice and give the guy a break. He's far more flexible than Ranieri or Shakespeare by a country mile
  20. 17 points
    Yep, yep. Anyone with a little bit of foresight already knows this and we've been telling people here for months, blue in the face. It's good that it's been made clear by Puel too. Long term project, sustainable, takes time. Either back the project, get behind the young players and the manager or get off the ****ing bus.
  21. 16 points
    Are we signing Andy Murray?
  22. 16 points
    I was going absolutely nuts yesterday. We score by stopping just lumping in crosses and go round behind them. We then immediately go back to lumping in crosses. Unbelievable. The main thing I take from this is that, a year on, the players still don't know how to break down a side. In that situation, Man City would be probing around for a pass between the lines while we're just lumping it at two six five defenders wondering why it isn't working. This is my issue with Puel. Tactics. The idea that he's a passing possession manager is a myth, he isn't at all. He's got no idea how to coach a creative, attacking team. He's not Quique Setien, he's not Nuno Santo, he's not even Eddie Howe. He's a conservative manager, a defensive manager, he coaches tactically rigid, solid sides that keep the ball to be defensive and minimise risk. He doesnt commit bodies forward, he doesn't press high to win it back, he plays patiently organised, rigid football. Its Tony Pulis with a bit more ambition. People have this idea that eventually Puel will be given enough Maddisons that suddenly the tactical plan will make sense and we'll start passing it around like Barcelona. It's not going to happen, that isn't what his teams do and it's not what they've ever done. It's like Ghezzal all over again, the evidence was there in his former clubs but people stuck their fingers in their ears and insisted we be optimistic. We will never rip teams apart with incisive, creative passing moves under Puel. If we were ever going to, we'd see at least some indication of it now even if it occasionally failed while the players adjust. We don't because that's not how he works. Now if that's fine with you and you're happy with mid table and you're not bored by the football we currently play then god bless you, different Strokes, different folks. But if you're backing Puel because you think the way we play is going to change if he gets to sign some more players? Eh, I think you're in for a hell of a nasty surprise.
  23. 16 points
    There’s absolutely no positivity at our home games any more and no wonder given the results. Man City apart. 7 goals in 3 and a half months at home. Failed to beat Burnley, Everton, Cardiff, 10 man West Ham and Southampton in that time. Football is a sport which is supposed to be entertaining. There’s zero entertainment under Puel. I’d give the job to anyone with a leicester connection for the rest of the season and start again in the summer before the good young players we do have down tools and decide to progress their careers elsewhere
  24. 15 points
  25. 15 points
    Mahrez signed for us when he was 22 and was definitely better then than Gray ever has been.