My heart was in my mouth – Shakespeare indebted to heroic Schmeichel again
Kasper Schmeichel was in inspired form for Leicester City, as they held off West Ham's late pressure to win and Craig Shakespeare took note.
West Ham's late onslaught had Craig Shakespeare's heart racing after Kasper Schmeichel's remarkable second-half performance allowed Premier League champions Leicester City to hold on to a slender 3-2 win at London Stadium.
Leicester initially showed few signs of weariness following their Champions League exploits against Sevilla on Tuesday, stunning West Ham with a brilliant start which saw them two goals up inside seven minutes thanks to Riyad Mahrez and Robert Huth.
Manuel Lanzini pulled one back with a fine free-kick, before Jamie Vardy restored Leicester's two-goal advantage just before the break.
Andre Ayew got West Ham's second just after the hour mark to usher in a tense ending, but Schmeichel proved too good as he pulled off several brilliant stops during the final stages.
CS: "Kasper made some big saves, but he's the first to say that's what he's there for. West Ham asked questions. Great resilience." #WhuLei— Leicester City (@LCFC) March 18, 2017
"We have to give West Ham credit," Leicester boss Shakespeare told BBC Sport. "They threw everything at us in the second half and Kasper had to make some special saves again. My heart was in my mouth at times.
"We showed all the attributes to win a game. We started really well and got the goals but it was backs to the wall at the end.
"On the outside you try to keep and collected to keep the players focused. I am intensely proud of the results we have got.
"We have important league games before the Champions League game with Atletico Madrid. We needed something from today [Saturday], heading in to the international break - we can recharge the batteries now."
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic echoed Shakespeare's appraisal of Schmeichel, adamant his side would have got something from the match had the Dane not been quite so impressive.
"You can call it poor finishing but we have to give huge credit to Kasper Schmeichel," Bilic said. "Especially for the save to the last chance from Andy Carroll.
"We deserved something from the game. We created lots of chances. In this league you can't afford to be 3-1 down and try to turn the game around. Last 20 minutes the ball just didn't want to go in."
West Ham's chances were not helped by injuries to Winston Reid and Michail Antonio during the match, with Bilic of the opinion that the latter will have to be withdrawn from the England squad due to his hamstring problem.
"It doesn't look good with Winston [Reid] and now it looks like Michail [Antonio] won't be able to go with the England squad," the Croatian said.
"He felt a hammy [hamstring]. We have to assess them next couple of days. Hopefully, they will be fit after the international break."