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Caretaker boss Stowell says Leicester have a ‘top-seven’ squad

Interim manager Mike Stowell has challenged the Leicester squad to get themselves back in contention for a top-seven finish.

The first team and goalkeeper coach has been placed in temporary charge, along with fellow first-team coach Adam Sadler, following Claude Puel’s dismissal.

Puel was dismissed on Sunday morning, hours after the 4-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace. The result saw the club’s board pressed into action due to their alarming drop down the Premier League table.

Luka Milivojevic, left, scores Crystal Palace's third goal against Leicester

Luka Milivojevic, left, scores Crystal Palace’s third goal against Leicester (Nigel French/PA)

The loss was Leicester’s sixth in their last seven matches, a run that has seen them knocked out of the FA Cup by Newport while slipping to 12th in the Premier League, eight points above the relegation zone.

“I’ve spoken to the players and told them how good they are and reminded them that they are a top-seven team. That’s where we should be and that’s where we should be aiming to get back to,” said Stowell at his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s home game against Brighton.

“It’s good that there is a game coming up so quickly but the players are professional and that’s the focus. They know they need to step up and go again against Brighton.”

Asked if he thought the players needed reminding because he thought they had let Puel down, Stowell said: “It’s always sad when a manager loses his job but I wouldn’t say that the players let him down.

“Our performances have been good. We outplayed Tottenham at Wembley and outplayed Manchester United here, I thought.

“We just didn’t get the rub of the green sometimes and when mistakes happen they are not made deliberately.”

Press Association Sport understands Leicester are keeping all options while they conduct their search for Puel’s permanent successor, depending on whether they target a manager currently in work or a boss out of work.

There have been reports that an interim boss could be brought in for the remaining Premier League matches until the end of the season.

Claude Puel, right

Claude Puel’s Leicester reign is over after a miserable losing run (John Walton/PA)

Stowell does not know if the home game against Brighton will be his only one in charge. He said: “We’ve been told, me and Adam, to take charge against Brighton and that’s it so far – and that’s what we will do.

“There will be speculation, we can’t do anything about that. This is a great club, it’s all here. There’s a great training ground, the stadium is going to be expanded and it is a very good squad. We’ve got some very good players here and we must keep them all together.”

Meanwhile, Puel said it was an “honour” to have been given the opportunity to manage Leicester and work under Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the club’s late owner who died in October in a helicopter crash as he left the King Power Stadium

The 57-year-old Frenchman, who was in charge for 16 months, said in a statement released through the League Managers Association: “I would like to thank everyone that I worked with at Leicester City Football Club.

Claude Puel lays a wreath in honour of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Puel led Leicester during the tributes after Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s death (Nigel French/PA)

“It was a privilege to work with the players, the staff and the management. 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 City Football Club ends here but I will continue to follow the performances of the team and wish the club all the best for the future.”

Ben Chilwell is fit again after missing the Palace defeat with a minor knock, giving Stowell a full squad to choose from.