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‘You finish where you deserve to’ says Smith as Leicester go down

Dean Smith admitted Leicester got what they deserved after the former Premier League champions were relegated on the final day of a dismal season.

Despite Sunday’s 2-1 win against West Ham, Smith’s side were condemned to play in the second tier for the first time since 2014 after their relegation rivals Everton beat Bournemouth 1-0.

Just seven years after their against-all-odds title triumph, Leicester finished two points behind fourth-bottom Everton as they crashed out of the Premier League.

It was a painful end to a troubled season that featured the exit of former boss Brendan Rodgers by mutual consent in early April.

Smith was hired to save Leicester on a short-term contract until the end of the season.

But the 52-year-old suffered a second successive relegation after dropping out of the Premier League with Norwich last season.

Smith conceded he had fallen short in his rescue mission but made it clear there were no excuses for his Thai-owned club’s decline.

“We put some pressure on but it wasn’t to be. When I came here with eight games to go I thought we probably needed 11 points. We’ve fallen two short of that with nine,” he said.

“I’m disappointed for the owner here and the staff and the players.”

Leicester won the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history just two years ago and finished fifth in the Premier League in successive seasons in 2020 and 2021.

Only last season, they came a creditable eighth, making their sudden descent into the Championship all the more surprising.

Asked why Leicester find themselves in this position, Smith said: “I don’t think that’s a question for me. I failed on my part because I felt we needed 11 points.

“Every manager will think I could have done this or that but hindsight is a wonderful thing. You finish where you deserve to over a season.

“There will be a review from people who have been here all season and will understand it.”

Smith is uncertain if Leicester will want him to remain in charge next season.

“It’s not a question for now. I’ll have to think about it. At the moment it’s raw because we’ve been relegated,” he said.

“Mine was a remit to come in for seven weeks and eight games and try to keep the club in the Premier League. Unfortunately I’ve fallen a little bit short.”

Leicester will take a massive financial hit from relegation, with several star players likely to want to leave.

England midfielder James Maddison, talented winger Harvey Barnes and veteran striker Jamie Vardy will all have suitors.

“It’s hard for me to answer because I haven’t talked about any contracts. I’ve just been concentrating on game to game,” Smith said.

“The time I’ve had with the players, they have been really good. I’ve only had to get into them once in a training session. 

“I felt we were lacking in belief when we first came. We gained confidence but we didn’t pick up enough points.”

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