Claude Puel appointed as a new coach of Leicester City
The agreement between Puel and the Foxes is signed until the summer of 2020.
“It’s a great privilege for me to become Leicester City Club manager as their values and ambitions correspond to mine,” Puel said.
The Frenchman will replace Craig Shakespeare in Leicester City. The latter was dismissed last week after a series of failures in the Premier League. The Foxes stay on the 14th place after 9 rounds.
Claude Puel Professional Record
It is also reported the former Shakespeare’s assistant Michael Appleton will remain on his post and assist Puel.
Leicester City played their first match with the new coach against Everton on Sunday in the Premier League’s 10th round.
Puel is a foreign coach with a good reputation, but without trophies. He won the first (and the last) championship in 2000. His clubs played stably in European competitions, without some outstanding results. There was only one exception: his club played in the Champions League semi-final once. He was considered one of the most promising trainers in England some time ago. But he spent 12 years in teams that didn’t claim to be a champion instead of a career as a trophies’ collector. Doesn’t it remind anyone? No, it’s not Claudio Ranieri. Anyway, it’s easy to understand what principles Leicester City management stick to while choosing coaches.
Puel spent previous season in England. This should be a source of optimism in theory. He saw the championship, adapted and so on. However, in fact, everything is opposite. The year in Southampton was average by results, and even worse by emotions.
Puel’s career in Southampton
Southampton didn’t only sell the leaders by tradition last summer, but also bought enough for the new coach. Two Nice players transferred together with Puel. Sofiane Boufal from Lille also came to England at the coach’s request. Southampton spent €25 million on the transfer, the club’s record. Hopes were laid on Manolo Gabiaddini from Napoli in the attack. Puel himself made everybody to expect something when he mentioned the Champions League, speaking about the team’s ambitions.
Claude didn’t serve good for the Saints
But everything went wrong from the very beginning. Southampton simply did not accept the Puel’s style. He wanted short passes, required a ball’s possession and preferred pressing to the positional defense. Instead of improving the game quality, the reverse process started. The Frenchman refused to change anything for a long time, hoping the players to adapt to his demands. Well, it really happened somehow. But it turned out Dushan Tadich, Oriol Romeu and Nathan Redmond saved the team at the expense of individual qualities. Southampton were seven in the Premier League leaderboard by a ball’s possession. And they became the leader in the number of crosses per game at the end of the season. What does it mean? Ball’s possession was just for the sake of it, you had to make crosses to get the ball into the penalty area. The Saints hopelessly stay in the second ten by the number of goals. They shared the 14th place with Stoke, with 41 goals (10 after the standards).
The Puel’s merits for domination in the field and the ability to rotate the staff did not bring any good results. Moreover, the traditional English crash test in January failed: the team lost four Premier League matches in a row. The final eighth place looks pretty good, but do not forget about one detail. The eighth Southampton is behind the seventh Everton by 15 points and ahead of the 13th Stoke by two only.
Puel left Southampton
There was almost no gloating in Twitter when Southampton announced about the contract’s termination. Puel had a fans’ respect, and the main emotion in the comments was something like “sorry, that did not work out, good luck”. Claude reached the League Cup final in the end, where he was defeated by Manchester United. Just we can say, his skills were not useful for the team. And the Frenchman did not begin to build tactics based on the team’s capabilities.
Leicester City as the most inappropriate Premier League team for Puel
When it comes to the Foxes, we are talking about a team with a very narrow special squad. The team that won the championship with the worst pass’ accuracy in the league (70%). And finished its triumphal season in 18th place by a ball’s possession.
The team that gets benefit from the poaching, not a ball’s possession. Depends on the flanks’ speed and passes to defenders, and not on the ability to get out from under pressure through the pass. And there is a very important thing to say. We are talking about a team that does not know how and does not want to learn to play somehow differently. Claudio Ranieri’s attempts to make Leicester City slightly more dominant ended in the coach’s resignation. Besides, it was unpleasant to watch the players’ strange behavior. Craig Shakespeare became the coach after him. The first thing he returned was the good-old take-off-beat-run style. And he pulled the club out from the relegation zone.
Why the Foxes invited Puel?
So this Leicester City invited the coach, who focuses on a ball’s possession and on the pressure. Who loves rotation. The Foxes and rotation? These words can’t be put side by side. Ranieri won the title with 14 players, since then the Foxes have changed minimally. Nine players of that season are still always in the first team. The team has 18 players as a maximum. And surely they are still the worst in swapping passes in the championship. I wonder, if Vardy and Mahrez are ready to change their game style completely? To put pressure constantly, instead of running into counterattacks? So is Morgan ready to play in a high defense, where you do not need to win a power fight? Can he swap passes and periodically run a race with the attackers facing his own goal?..