Just win – Dean Smith keeps Leicester message simple ahead of crunch final day
By Jonathan Veal, PA
Leicester boss Dean Smith has said his message to his players ahead of their all-or-nothing game with West Ham on Sunday will simply be “just win”.
The Foxes have to win and hope that Everton cannot beat Bournemouth if they are to avoid relegation to the Championship.
Smith, who was parachuted in on an eight-game SOS mission following the sacking of Brendan Rodgers, says that what happens at the King Power Stadium against the Hammers is the only thing the Foxes need to focus on.
He said: “We have got to win the game plainly and simply, we have got to figure out and balance the best way to not give big chances away and create big chances against West Ham, who are in a European final and after a tough first half of the season have climbed away from danger and have got a very good manager there.
“We have to win the game and not look at the Everton result until after the game. We have to do our job and see where it takes us.
“We can only control what we can do. We have to control our performance, help your team-mates out and go and get a good performance and a win.
“If we do our part we are looking at other people to help us, but we have to make sure we concentrate on what we do. It’s quite a simple message really and the lads have trained well so far.
“The players want clarity of what their positions are, what we are asking of them and our job is to give them that. It doesn’t get any clearer for me: They have to win. That’s all they need to know and that’s all they do know.
“We just have to concentrate on our own game. It’s simplistic, we have to win, it doesn’t matter what is going on at other grounds. Just win.
“Whatever else is going on elsewhere we are not in control of. But we have seen how quickly things can change around in the last 15 minutes of games, whether it is this season or previous seasons. We win our games and then see where it goes.”
Smith did not want to discuss his future beyond Sunday’s game, insisting that there will be a post-season debrief.
Asked whether the outcome of the match will impact his future, Smith added: “Not at all, my future was to come in for seven weeks and eight games and that hasn’t change. My future is exactly the same. That is a question to have after the game and not before it.”
The Foxes will be without Caglar Soyuncu, but Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Jonny Evans and Ricardo Pereira will all be fit. Wilfred Ndidi is a doubt with a hamstring injury.
“Caglar is not fit, he has tried to get himself back into training this week but he just felt it, obviously it was too close but the fact he wanted to push it to be in contention shows a lot about his character. He’s definitely out,” Smith said.
“Dewsbury-Hall is good, he’s been training with us for a couple of days now, so he’ll be available for selection.
“(Kelechi) Iheanacho is fine, Jonny Evans had cramp he’s fine. Ricky we scanned him and he is fine, Wilf is the only question mark at the moment, we are waiting to see if he is good enough to train tomorrow.”