Dean Smith

Matchday With The Manager - Setting Sights On Everton

Leicester City have not set any points targets for the remaining five games of the Premier League season and remain solely determined on simply securing as many as possible, says Manager Dean Smith.
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The Foxes welcome Everton to King Power Stadium on Monday evening determined to make it seven points from a possible nine after taking three from Wolverhampton Wanderers and one from Leeds United over the past fortnight.

Speaking ahead of a crunch clash which puts 18th vs. 19th in the Premier League table, Smith discussed an array of topics on Friday - including the pressure of relegation dog fights, Everton's talents and Jamie Vardy's recent form...

Approaching the final run-in

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Dean Smith

Dean Smith was pleased with much of what he saw at Elland Road on Tuesday.

Smith says there will be nothing new about the way they mentality prepare for Monday's encounter with Everton. There were high stakes to their last two matches, coming against direct relegation rivals, and this Toffees clash is no different. 

"It's the same as we handled the Leeds game," he explained. "It’s a big game for both teams because of the position we’re both in in the league. The games are running out, obviously. This time we’ll have home advantage, and we want to use that to our advantage. There’s still no points target. It all changes after the number of games that have been played.

"Forest won the other night. We can’t get involved in that, we’ve just got to concentrate on the games we’ve got to play. There’s 15 points to play for. We’ve four from our first three games.

"Four points from Wolves and Leeds is not a bad return, but we’ll be going all-out to get a win against Everton and then Fulham after that. That’s all we can control really. We’ll then look at the table after that and see where we’re at."

Staying calm & analysing Everton

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Dean Smith

The Foxes Manager watches on in training at Seagrave.

Smith admits it is a challenge to completely alleviate the pressure on his players, such is the magnitude of the task at hand. However, the former Brentford and Aston Villa manager says that puts 'fire' into their bellies. 

"I don’t think you can ever fully take the pressure off them," he explained. "They read and they watch football. They see the games. They watch the scores and the table. You can’t take that pressure away from them because they know.

"We can make it clear with our plan and what we’re trying to do and how we’re trying to do it. If you do that, they can go into it pretty relaxed and calm, but having that fire to go and win football games. That’s the most important thing.

"I expect a real tough, committed performance from Everton. I thought they were really good in the first half (in a 4-1 loss to Newcastle United on Thursday) up until probably the second goal, which took it away from them. I fully agreed with Sean [Dyche’s] comments after the game. I thought they were full value performance-wise in the first half."

Vardy's upturn in form

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Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy's strike sealed a 1-1 draw with Leeds in midweek.

The Club's new Manager is hoping Vardy's goal at Elland Road on Tuesday will be the first in a streak of strikes for City's No.9. Smith says he's been impressed by the former England striker in training.

"He’s been really good," Smith continued. "I think I said, from the first moment, he’s trained really well. He’s got a really good appetite for the game and a great understanding of it.

"He’s engaged in meetings we’ve had and I was really pleased to see him get his first goal for a while. He won the penalty against Wolves. Although he didn’t get much of a look-in against Man City, after watching Man City against Arsenal, 3-1 wasn’t such a bad result there was it! He’s done really well and I’m pleased he scored."

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