Claude Puel

The Managers: Claude Puel, 2017-2019

In October 2017, with Leicester City in 14th position in the Premier League, Craig Shakespeare was replaced by Claude Puel, who had been Southampton’s manager during the 2016/17 season.
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Prior to his year at Southampton, Puel had spent the whole of his career in France, both as a player and a manager. His entire playing career, amounting to over 600 games, was spent at AS Monaco where he won two Ligue 1 titles in 1982 and 1988, three French Cups in 1980, 1985 and 1991 and the French Super Cup (Trophée des Champions) in 1985. From 1987, his manager at Monaco was Arsène Wenger.

After his retirement as a player, Puel stayed on at Monaco as trainer and then manager of the reserve team before being appointed first team manager in 1999. He won the Ligue 1 title in 2000 before spending six seasons as manager of Lille, winning the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2004.

Olympic Lyonnais, winners of the previous seven Ligue 1 titles, appointed Puel as their manager in 2008 and in 2010 he led them to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history. Despite finishing third in Ligue 1 in 2011, he left Lyon that summer.

A four-year spell at Ligue 1 side Nice was followed by his year at Southampton. Despite taking the Saints to eighth position in the Premier League, as well as reaching the League Cup Final, he spent only one year in Southampton.

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Claude Puel
Claude Puel

The Frenchman spent the entirety of his playing career at AS Monaco, winning the Ligue 1 title on two occasions.

Puel’s first game as Leicester City’s manager, a 2-0 home win over Everton in October 2017, was the first of five wins in his opening eight games. This sequence included four consecutive victories, culminating in a 4-1 victory over his old club Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium.

Following a New Year’s Day victory over Huddersfield Town, Leicester City rose to eighth in the table and were entertaining hopes of qualifying for Europe.

After the victory on New Year’s Day, the team’s form dipped. They won only four of the remaining 15 Premier League games of the season, in a sequence which saw just four points being gained from the last seven matches. This meant that the team finished a disappointing, but still creditable, ninth position.

In the close season, Jacques Bonnevay replaced Michael Appleton as assistant manager and the squad was strengthened with the signings of Jonny Evans, James Maddison, Ricardo Pereira, Çağlar Söyüncü and Filip Benković.

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Claude Puel
Claude Puel

The new season was dominated by the tragedy of the helicopter crash on 27 October, 2018 which claimed the lives of Chairman Khun Vichai and four others. Puel conducted himself with great dignity at this tragic time.

The Club was in seventh position by the New Year. However, a disappointing FA Cup loss at Newport County, followed by a run of one draw and five defeats in the next six Premier League games, culminating in a 4-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace, resulted in Puel leaving the Club on 24 February, 2019, to be replaced as manager by Brendan Rodgers.

Despite some frustrations, Puel did much to strengthen the Club. His loan signing of Youri Tielemans further added to the quality of the close season signings mentioned above. He also played a big part in the development of young players, most notably England international Ben Chilwell and England Under-21s internationals Demarai Gray, Hamza Choudhury, Harvey Barnes and Maddison.

Puel is currently in charge of Saint-Étienne in France's Ligue 1.

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