Leicester City Set To Pay The Ultimate Price For Naive Dean Smith Decision

Leicester were comfortably beaten 3-0 by Liverpool at the King Power
22:06, 15 May 2023

Why did Leicester land on Dean Smith to get them out of danger? After a damaging 3-0 home defeat leaves them stuck in 19th place with just two to play, it’s difficult to know the answer. Under Brendan Rodgers the club had just dropped into the bottom three and were winless in seven. Relegation was a possibility. 

But under Smith, it is now almost a certainty. Leicester have got drastically worse. Their players have no confidence and are being played in a restrictive system while the fans as we saw tonight have completely lost faith. It’s almost like we’ve seen this before. 

18 months ago, Norwich City turned to the experienced Smith to get them out of danger. They abandoned all of their footballing principles that had earnt them two promotions under Daniel Farke for a manager that again - didn’t improve them. They won five games all season, finished bottom, and in the Championship the relationship with the fans became so bad that Smith was sacked at Christmas. 


So why on earth would Leicester decide that Smith, along with Craig Shakespeare and John Terry, had the tactical nous to get them out of danger. Wolves went for Julen Lopetegiu, Aston Villa got Unai Emery - the finances might be slightly different but the ambition shouldn’t be. Leicester are better than Dean Smith - but now they need a minor miracle to survive this season.

This squad of players, including James Maddison, Youri Tielemans and Jonny Evans, proved they were good enough to compete for the Champions League places in recent seasons. They even won the FA Cup in 2021, but now they must beat one of Newcastle away or West Ham at home to stand a chance of survival. 

Their rise to the top flight was impressive and they made the biggest impression of all when they won the title in 2015/16, but now they are falling out of the league with a whimper. 

“You’re not fit to wear the shirt” - the fans sang at the end of the game, while the Leicester players looked visibly upset at the reaction and the defeats. Nobody expected them to beat Liverpool tonight, but the display was tepid, and despite a half-decent side, once the first goal went in - it was curtains. 

Curtis Jones got a brace after two brilliant finishes were confirmed to be onside by VAR, his first coming after a wonderful cross from Mo Salah found him at the back post. The third goal was the pick of the lot, a free-kick whipped in by Trent Alexander-Arnold in front of the England manager. 

Tapped to him by Salah, the Egyptian king registered a Liverpool first - three assists in one match, as the King Power became increasingly hostile. James Maddison appeared to be the only player in blue trying until the very end, but he was the target of the home fans’ frustration - perhaps in the knowledge that he will be the first to go should they get relegated to the Championship. 

But Leicester’s relegation wasn’t confirmed tonight. They still might pull off an unlikely survival. But under Dean Smith, and with this fanbase less receptive than ever to a fightback, a spell in the second tier looks like an inevitability. 

*18+ | Be Gamble Aware

Suggested Searches:
The Sportsman
Manchester United
Manchester City
Premier League
Sportsman HQ
72-76 Cross St
Manchester M2 4JG
We will not ask you to provide any personal information when using The Sportsman website. You may see advertisement banners on the site, and if you choose to visit those websites, you will accept the terms and conditions and privacy policy applicable to those websites. The link below directs you to our Group Privacy Policy, and our Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at: [email protected]

All original material is Copyright © 2019 by The Sportsman Communications Ltd.
Other material is copyright their respective owners.