Leicester City striker Leonardo Ulloa believes Claudio Ranieri's controversial sacking brought about a "momentum change" for the Premier League champions.
Ulloa was brought on as a half-time substitute as Leicester battled to a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday, signing off their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 aggregate loss.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone singled out Ulloa for praise afterwards, with the targetman providing a troublesome aerial threat as Leicester peppered the visitors' penalty area either side of Jamie Vardy cancelling out Saul Niguez's first-half opener.
The 30-year-old's standing with Ranieri did not appear to be so lofty when he threatened to go on strike having not been allowed a move during the January transfer window.
The popular Italian was dismissed the following month, with Leicester languishing near the relegation zone.
Under successor and former assistant Craig Shakespeare there was an immediate upturn, with a 3-1 win over Liverpool sparking a run of six consecutive victories in all competitions.
MATCH ROUND-UP: Read up on all the action as #lcfc bow out of the #UCL with a typically spirited display https://t.co/gMaUFUePbN #LeiAtm pic.twitter.com/zCjrFoRSCB — Leicester City (@LCFC) April 18, 2017
"It's difficult to talk about that," Ulloa said when asked about Ranieri's exit. "There was a bad dynamic since the start of the season because we started poorly.
"We were not able to react and we had the threat of relegation close to us as well. That led to Ranieri's sacking.
"After that came a quick reaction as we knew we were in a very bad situation. Since then we found within ourselves the team that was champions last year and that's the one that beat Sevilla [in the Champions League last 16] and played against Atletico.
"It was just a matter based on dynamics. We changed it. As soon as Claudio left we beat Liverpool, there was a quick reaction and that made the momentum change. That's my opinion."
Ulloa was named in Shakespeare's XI to face Crystal Palace last weekend – his third appearance in Leicester's past four games and only his second Premier League start of the season.