James Maddison believes arrival of Dean Smith has given Leicester a lift

James Maddison praised Dean Smith’s impact at Leicester ahead of their crucial Premier League clash with Everton.

The Foxes slipped back into the drop zone this week but have taken four points from their last two games.

Smith replaced Brendan Rodgers until the end of the season earlier this month and, after losing his opening game 3-1 at Manchester City, has beaten Wolves and drawn at Leeds.

Maddison returned from illness to set up Jamie Vardy’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Elland Road on Tuesday and feels the points and Smith’s fresh approach has boosted the Foxes – who had lost eight out of nine before his arrival.

“It’s definitely given us a lift and helped that side of things,” the playmaker told the club’s official site ahead of Monday’s visit of the Toffees.

“When you have a new manager, it’s a new voice, new messages and so everyone’s on it.

“The gaffer’s been in three games; we had a tight game against Man City but, as we just saw against Arsenal, they can blow anyone away and we maybe could’ve even got something up until towards the end of that game.

“But that was never going to be a defining moment in the season because not many teams go to the Etihad and win. But then obviously winning at home and then not losing away, which was something we’d been doing lately, was important.

“There has been a real uplift in confidence and belief and hopefully that will leave us in good stead so we can produce another positive performance and result against Everton.

“We haven’t given the crowd enough to cheer and shout about this season so we understand the frustrations, especially when we go behind. I always say it’s so important and massive for us if the crowd can stick with us, even in the tougher times.

“There was a little bit of anxiety when we went behind but once the team got going and started playing at a bit of a quicker tempo, they really bought into that and helped the team get over the line.”