Leicester appoint Dean Smith as new manager on deal until end of season


Leicester City have turned to Dean Smith in a bid to preserve their Premier League status after appointing the former Aston Villa manager on a short-term contract until the end of the season.

Leicester had pinpointed Jesse Marsch as a possible successor to Brendan Rodgers but after talks broke down over the weekend they accelerated talks with Smith, who was sacked by Norwich City in December, after failing to mount a challenge for automatic promotion.

Leicester admire Graham Potter but it is understood he is keen to take a break from the game after being sacked by Chelsea.

Smith, who will meet the Leicester squad before taking charge of training on Tuesday, has been joined by Craig Shakespeare and John Terry, both of whom were part of his coaching staff at Villa. Smith said he recognises the club is in a precarious position, second bottom in the table and facing relegation to the Championship after three straight league defeats.

“We’re going to see it like a competition, really. We’ve got six games, eight weeks to save the season. We can’t get away from the fact we’re in a tough position at the moment.”

After reluctantly sacking Rodgers, who was under contract until 2025, Leicester sounded out various candidates including Rafael Benítez, though had hoped the caretaker pairing of Adam Sadler and Mike Stowell would steer the club clear of relegation trouble.

Sadler and Stowell, who will be part of Smith’s staff, lost both of their matches in caretaker charge, at home to Aston Villa and Bournemouth last week. Leicester have lost eight of their past nine matches in all competitions and are two points from safety with eight games to play.

Shakespeare, who was sacked four months into his reign as Leicester manager in 2017, is well respected within the club’s hierarchy. He worked as an assistant to Nigel Pearson and Claudio Ranieri, who led the club to the Premier League title against all odds in 2016.

“I think the three of us is a good package,” the 52-year-old Smith said of his backroom staff. “Craig is an outstanding assistant manager, as everybody at this club knows. JT is an outstanding defensive coach but he also brings vast experience of the Premier League and playing at the elite level. He will drive high standards as well.”