Shakespeare hails Mahrez response after 'kick up the backside'

Riyad Mahrez won Craig Shakespeare's praise for responding well to poor recent form against West Brom.

Riyad Mahrez (right) celebrates with Islam Slimani after scoring for Leicester City.   -  Getty Images

Leicester City boss Craig Shakespeare was pleased to see Riyad Mahrez respond to "a kick up the backside" in Monday's draw with West Brom.

The Algeria international scored his first goal of the season to cancel out Nacer Chadli's free-kick and earn the home side a point at the King Power Stadium.

Mahrez has struggled for form this season, having failed to secure a move away from the club during the transfer window, and was left out of the starting line-up for Leicester's 0-0 draw with Bournemouth prior to the international break.

Shakespeare felt the winger has shown a good response to the criticism, telling BBC Sport: "I left him out against Bournemouth, gave him a kick up the backside and he was excellent in training. You want the response and the right response."

Leicester went behind to West Brom's first shot on target after 63 minutes but Shakespeare was proud to see his side battle back for a point.

"When you have as much possession as we did and then go a goal down, you are always worried how it affects the players, but we showed the spirit we have and the resilience and we deserved a goal," he said.

"We could do with a win, make no mistake. I see them in training every day in terms of the quality and endeavour. Once we get that win then hopefully we will climb up the table.

"We know what we have to do. It is tight down there and one win takes you three or four places up and that is what we aim to do."

Chadli's free-kick left goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel wrong-footed but the Denmark international felt there was little he could do.

"I was struggling to see it from the start," he told Sky Sports. "I was thinking it would have to be one heck of a strike to get it over a big wall like that. It's frustrating, it's a good strike but as a keeper, if you can't see the ball, you struggle to make any sort of impact.

"In hindsight you could say maybe not to put a wall up there, but if he smashes that in the top corner then you'll be criticised for that."

West Brom boss Tony Pulis was frustrated to see victory escape his side and has called on some of his players to show more quality at key moments.

"It's happened to us a few times this year, when we've been leading and let it slip," he said. "But it's a very tough league; take the top six out and there's not a lot between them.

"We've got some good players and they've got to use the ball with a little more quality.

"My teams always work hard and give all they've got but our quality is better than we've shown sometimes. We're disappointed but every game is a tough game in this league."

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