We don't forget Ranieri – Mahrez hits out at Leicester critics

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The hero of the Premier League title campaign has defended the Foxes' actions after seeing Ranieri sacked in February

Riyad Mahrez has hit out at Leicester City's critics, insisting the players have not forgotten Claudio Ranieri's influence on their Premier League triumph.

Ranieri was sacked in February, less than a year on from Leicester's incredible title success, as the club faced a relegation battle.

But since the Italian's departure, his former assistant Craig Shakespeare has guided the Foxes to three consecutive wins in all competitions, including a Champions League last-16 success against Sevilla.

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And while some pundits have criticised the Leicester squad for performing only after seeing their manager sacked, amid reports of player involvement in the decision, Mahrez has dismissed their opinions.

"The people [who] are not inside the club [and are] not very involved in what's happening here, they can't judge, just because they were a footballer," Mahrez told talkSPORT.

"When you're not in the club or in the dressing room – you can't know everything – but maybe it's their job to speak and I don't mind.

"We know what we achieved with Claudio. Now the club has decided to sack him and we have to respect it and go forward. But we don't forget Claudio."

Mahrez has been pleased with Shakespeare's impact since taking charge of the club, adding that the manager's attitude has been consistent throughout a difficult season.

"Shaky has stayed the same," he said. "I like that about him, that he didn't change because he became the manager.

"He has always been working hard for the team – even when he was the assistant – and we are happy with him."

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