Dean Smith insists Youri Tielemans is committed to Leicester’s fight for survival

Youri Tielemans remains committed to Leicester’s fight for survival, according to boss Dean Smith.

The Foxes are two points from safety ahead of Monday’s crucial visit to Liverpool and time is running out to save their Premier League skins.

Captain Tielemans is out of contract in the summer and the club have been trying for the past two years to convince him to sign a new contract.

The midfielder is expected to leave on a free transfer, but Smith has dismissed any suggestion that he was not dedicated to keeping the Foxes on top.

“I feel completely comfortable with his commitment, I haven’t seen anything but a committed player in and around the training ground and on the pitch,” he said.

“You have to remember our first game against Man City. He was coming back from injury after being out for five or six weeks, but he was committed to playing that game to get up to speed as quickly as possible.

“He is still trying to catch up a bit, but he has qualities that we need in the team.

“I am very good at reading people and as soon as I met Youri you know that football means a lot to him, the same for Cags (Soyuncu) when I looked into his eyes and it means a lot to him.”

The Foxes were booed at half-time in their 5-3 defeat at Fulham on Monday, trailing 3-0, but Smith insisted his entire team must handle the criticism.

He said: “I heard the reaction from the fans at half time and I understood it, but I don’t get out of it. Football is all about opinion and it always has been, someone’s favorite player will be someone else’s underdog and that’s football.

“Unfortunately, as players, you have to deal with people’s opinions and that’s their job to deal with it.”

Nottingham Forest and Leeds drew against Chelsea and Newcastle respectively, while Everton’s 3-0 loss to Manchester City means victory over Liverpool will knock the Foxes out of the bottom three.

“I think they (the players) know the position they’re in and have done since the moment we got here,” Smith said. “That is what we remind them of and the reason why we are here, to stay in the Premier League.

“The players are more than aware of that and I think a perception is always different from what I see every day on the training ground. What I see every day is a group of players who care.”

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