Wes Morgan: Leicester's 'angry' win over Liverpool was turning point

Wes Morgan has experienced more in his five years at Leicester City than most players do in an entire career. Promotion into the Premier League as winners of the Championship, a dramatic escape from top-flight relegation, lifting the Premier League trophy and a run into the quarterfinals of the Champions League are all part of the veteran defender's story.

But the 33-year-old is now looking ahead to a first full season under new manager Craig Shakespeare, who arrested the slide that saw Claudio Ranieri sacked last season and led the Foxes to a respectable midtable finish.

Morgan spoke to ESPN FC about a roller coaster ride as club captain, and what the future holds for Leicester.

Wes, it has certainly been an eventful 12 months for you and Leicester City ...

Morgan: I'd say it's been an eventful three years! Promotion to the Premier League, which for me, after spending my career in the Championship, League One even, I never thought would happen. Then the "great escape" to survive in our first season. And then it goes without saying that the moment I lifted the Premier League trophy, that split second when I got my hands on it, lifted it above my head, will be etched in my mind forever.

Last summer we came back for preseason and suddenly we were playing against the likes of Barcelona, Celtic and PSG. We'd stepped up, we were keeping different company, touring places like LA -- it was all very different. We were constantly reminded of our achievement: pictures and images everywhere, the trophy was always around us, and there was the recognition and the accolades that went with it.

But the manager [Ranieri] stayed focused on what we needed to do in the season ahead, instead of dwelling on the season we had just had, which was obviously pretty difficult, but it was the right thing to do. And we went into last season full of confidence.

Why was there such a dramatic change in results?

Morgan: It's hard to say. Teams approached us with a different mentality -- playing the champions of England. We tried to approach every game in the same way we always had, but things didn't go right for us. When you're winning, everyone's happy. You feel like you can beat anyone. And when you're losing, you can get into a rut. You try and remain confident, but there's more pressure to get a result every time you step on the pitch. The atmosphere changes. But at the same time we knew what we were capable of and were desperate to find that form again.

How did it feel when Claudio Ranieri was sacked after all he had done for Leicester?

Morgan: Claudio, what he achieved with the club, and what he took us to, was amazing. Something that no one thought was possible. Clearly things weren't going right, though. The people who run the club had a decision to make and they felt it was time to make a change.

It was difficult. He had tried to remain upbeat. The season we won the league he probably didn't have to do as much as he did when we were struggling. He could put the same team out every week, there were no injuries, we were winning, all he had to do was maintain and make sure we were fit. When things aren't going your way, maybe changes need to be made, personnel, you need to find a way to win again, as any manager does. Unfortunately he couldn't find the answer.

The players took much of the blame, for performances, and his dismissal ...

Morgan: We weren't performing the way we knew we could, but the players didn't make the decision [about the dismissal]. We don't run the club. Some fans turned against us, lots of pundits, it was difficult. But it gave us a point to prove. In the Liverpool game especially, I think everyone saw how determined we were.

We were damned if we did, damned if we didn't. If we'd lost that game then people would have said Claudio should have stayed. But when we won the game, it was, "Why couldn't you do that in the first place?" We always try and win every single game we play in. It felt to me like that [Liverpool] was an angry performance. It ended up being the turning point for us.

What was it like to play in the Champions League for the first time? Was it hard to juggle with the Premier League?

Morgan: People said we were concentrating on the Champions League, but for me it's the Premier League that's the bread and butter; the Champions League was a bonus. Obviously it did take its toll, the extra games, but we're all fit athletes and most of us have come from the Championship where you have to play two games a week for most of the season.

I'd been used to going to the pub or to a friend's house to watch those big Champions League matches on TV! So to be involved in it, to actually experience it, hear the music, walk out in different stadiums, soak up the atmosphere, the whole process -- it was a fantastic experience. And getting to the quarterfinal was an amazing achievement.

How much credit does Craig Shakespeare deserve for turning things around?

Morgan: He's been at the club for as long as I've been there. He's always been someone you can go and talk to, very approachable and very knowledgeable about the game. He takes all the coaching sessions, he knows the strengths and weaknesses of the players, and the team, and he knows exactly how to make us tick. Obviously he took over in difficult circumstances and did better than anyone could have imagined. He deserves great credit.

What do you think Leicester have to do in the summer transfer market?

Morgan: I think we need to invest and recruit in the majority of positions. Towards the end of last season we saw a few injuries impact our results because we maybe didn't have the same strength and depth as other teams. I think if you look at the average age of our back four we're all above 30 now, so we're not getting any younger. Up front, [Jamie] Vardy is our main outlet, he suits our style of play, but there's a lot on his shoulders and if he got injured we need someone to take his place. I'm sure that will be an area our recruitment staff will be looking at. I'll be watching with interest to see who comes in; I'm sure it's going to be a busy summer.

What are your and Leicester's aims for next season and beyond?

Morgan: I think Leicester should aim to be a solid, established Premier League club, challenging for the top eight, and challenging for cups. On a personal level, I've never had a cup run in my career. There's no reason why we can be competing for those trophies; the aim should be to try to get our hands on some more silverware.

Do you think a team like Leicester will ever win the Premier League again?

Morgan: We won it against all the odds, but if I'm being realistic, it's very, very unlikely that it will happen again. It's such a special thing for Leicester to have. You never know in football, though; if something similar ever did happen, then I know I'd be supporting the team who was up there.