Dean Smith says Leicester have the capability to bounce straight back to the Premier League after they were relegated on Sunday.
The Foxes became just the second former champions to drop out of the division, joining Blackburn in 1999, as their 2-1 final-day win against West Ham was not enough to keep them in the division due to Everton’s victory over Bournemouth.
Relegation represents a huge fall from grace as that remarkable 5000-1 title came in 2016 and they have enjoyed much more recent success as they won the FA Cup in 2021 under Brendan Rodgers, who also delivered back-to-back fifth-placed finishes.
It will be the Championship next season, though Smith, who replaced Rodgers on a short-term SOS mission last month, reckons it could be a short stay in the second tier.
He said: “The raw materials this club has is an elite club. It feels raw now and it hurts and everybody will be devastated but with the infrastructure it has got it can bounce back.
“That is what happens. There has been plenty of times where you have knocks and your job is to bounce back and make sure you improve on the things that let you down and I have no doubt the club will.
“I think it has to (reset). Any club that gets relegated, they have to find a way to bounce back. There are plenty of knocks in football, it is, we all know that week in, week out, about how you bounce back.
“From what I have seen with the infrastructure I see no reason why it can’t bounce straight back.”
It remains to be seen whether Smith will lead that charge next season as his future remains in the air.
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His eight-game remit has now ended, but he has experience of winning promotion in the Championship with Aston Villa.
Smith says he has not yet thought about his long-term future but will speak to chairman Aiyawatt ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha in a few days.
“Seven weeks, eight games, we didn’t speak about anything beyond that. I will speak to Top, who I have an awful lot of respect for, over the next couple of days and commiserate with him because the time and effort he puts into this football club is there for all to see.
“I am certainly not thinking about my future at the moment. It is raw getting relegated now, I’ll go away and reflect on it, speak to John (Rudkin) and Top. It’s a hypothetical question at the moment.”
Defeat ended a disappointing Premier League season for West Ham where they finished 14th, six points above the drop zone.
But boss David Moyes admitted his mind has been on the forthcoming Europa Conference League final against Fiorentina in Prague.
“It’s been on it for a long time, but what would you expect? Getting to European finals don’t come around too often. It’s been 47 years for West Ham.
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“We’ve got to the final, we started back in August now going into June to the final and to try and have a good Premier League season and keep the competition going, it takes a big effort and it was a big effort to retain Premier League status and to ensure we keep winning in the cup.
“We wanted a draw because that would have got us one place higher in the league which might not mean much but it does to us, we were desperate to get there.
“We’ve got nothing to celebrate but playing against a team who has been relegated shows how devastating it can be.”