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'Working with Leicester City was a privilege' - Puel leaves dignified message after Foxes sacking

19:48 GMT+4 25/02/2019
Puel - cropped
The Frenchman was sacked after the Foxes' 4-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace – their fifth loss in six Premier League matches

Claude Puel has sent a dignified message to Leicester City after he was sacked as the club's manager following the 4-1 defeat to Crystal Palace.

Goals from Michy Batshuayi, Wilfried Zaha (2) and Luka Milivojevic brought Puel's 16-month tenure at the King Power Stadium to a dismal end.

Pressure had been mounting on the former Southampton boss, whose side have not won in the Premier League since a 1-0 victory over Everton on January 1, losing five of their seven league matches in 2019 in total, as well as exiting the FA Cup at the first hurdle to Newport County.

Impressive results against the Premier League's top-six sides had helped Puel hold on, but Leicester's hierarchy announced on Sunday that the Frenchman had been relieved of his duties.

In a statement issued by the League Manager's Association, Puel sent a message of thanks to the club, which he managed through one of its most difficult spells when chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people killed in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium in October 2018.

"I would like to thank everyone that I worked with at Leicester," Puel stated.

"It was a privilege to work with the players, the staff and the management. I would also like to thank the fans for their fantastic support.

"I really appreciate the willingness to learn and work ethic of all of the players and I have no doubt that they will all have bright futures. 

"It was my honour to work for the late and much loved Khun Vichai, who gave me the fantastic opportunity to manage his club and share some great moments with him. 

"My mission at Leicester ends here but I will continue to follow the performances of the team and wish the club all the best for the future."

Jonny Evans scored the final goal of Puel's reign at Leicester, restoring parity against Palace before Zaha and Milivojevic took the game away from their hosts, and he insisted the players must take their share of the blame.

"We got called into a meeting [on Sunday], the manager spoke, he spoke well, to the players and informed us of the club's decision," Evans told Sky Sports. 

"He wished us all the best for the future. We feel responsible for a lot of things, when you lose games, you feel like you're letting a lot of people down, not just the manager.

"As players, you never really know [if a manager is going to get sacked]. Everyone is trying to gauge what's going on, but we don't know what the club's thinking behind the scenes."

First-team coach Mike Stowell will take charge of Leicester's next Premier League clash with Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday.

"It's always sad to see a manager leave the club," Stowell told a news conference.

"[Puel] had the club at heart. Performances have been really good, but sometimes you don't get the rub of the green."