Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare has denied being the reason behind Claudio Ranieri’s sacking and insisted he “has never had any falling out” with the Italian.
Ranieri was sacked as boss only nine months after leading Leicester City to their miracle Premier League title triumph following a tough second season in charge.
Despite guiding the Foxes to the knockout stages of the Champions League – where they will play Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals on Wednesday night – he was sacked as the club drifted nearer and nearer the relegation zone.
And Ranieri said on Monday that there “someone behind” him who may have been working against him to get him sacked, but Shakespeare categorically denied it was him.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Ranieri said: “I don't want to say who it is. I am a loyal man. What I had to say, I said face to face.”
In response, Shakespeare, who did not see the interview live, said: “We have never had any arguments or hard feelings.
“Free speech is there for everybody. I don't have any problem with that. I have a clear conscience.”
He also said they were on good terms the day Ranieri was sacked, and that their relationship hadn’t changed.
“Claudio was in good humour, he came across exactly as I know him,” Shakespeare added.
“My stance is the same from my first interview [as manager] when I stated that I'd spoken to Claudio the night he was relieved, he thanked me for my time, and I thanked him.
“He said it was football. It was good to see him enjoying his football and he came across really well.”
Shakespeare was speaking in Madrid ahead of the quarter-final first leg against the two-time losing finalists of the last three seasons.
He confirmed that while captain Wes Morgan travelled with the squad, he was not fit enough to start, but insisted it is nights like these in the Champions League which spur you on to do great things.
“These are the nights that drive you on,” said Shakespeare.
“When you look at where the club has come from, to walk through a stadium like this, a lovely traditional ground filled with cups and trophies, it gives you a tingle.”