REUTERS - Leicester City’s recent run of positive results has filled them with confidence, according to manager Craig Shakespeare, but they should not be complacent when hosting basement-side Sunderland in the Premier League on Tuesday.
Leicester have won five in a row since Shakespeare took over as manager from Claudio Ranieri. Their renewed sense of optimism was on display in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Stoke City, with midfielder Wilfred Ndidi finding the net from 25 yards.
Striker Jamie Vardy has also hit top form under Shakespeare, scoring his fourth goal in four league games for the club on Saturday.
“The team have grown in stature and confidence in the last few games, and Wilfred Ndidi has benefited from that,” Shakespeare told reporters on Monday.
“Strikers thrive on confidence. Jamie Vardy scored against Liverpool and he hasn’t looked back since.”
Sunderland are without a win in five games and look to be sliding inexorably towards relegation, but Shakespeare urged his team not to take their opponents lightly, especially with a striker of the calibre of Jermain Defoe in the side.
Defoe has scored 14 league goals for Sunderland this season, and Shakespeare said he was expecting a close contest.
“We strive to win every game and the next game is Sunderland. Last time was a close game and I expect it to be close tomorrow,” he added.
“They’re dangerous opposition. Any team with Defoe in it is. We have to be aware of his goal threat and respect our opposition. Whether we’re playing a team at the bottom or the top, our goal is the same and that’s to earn three points.”
Leicester will be without defender Wes Morgan (back) and midfielder Nampalys Mendy (ankle), though midfielder Marc Albrighton is fit after recovering from a minor illness.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Mark Heinrich