Dean Smith has revealed his shock at losing the Aston Villa job, and namechecked three players whose absences contributed towards his downfall.
Smith took charge of Villa in their third season back in the Championship in 2017/18. He quickly won over the fans,with a historic 10-game winning streak helping matters.
That propelled Villa towards the top end of the table and into the playoffs. Smith was able to inspire the side to triumph in the playoffs, beating Derby County 2-1 in the final.
He managed to avoid relegation in his first season as a manager in the top flight. Smith then led his team to an 11th-placed finish the following year.
However, Villa struggled at the beginning of the current campaign and Smith’s tenure came to an end. He was sacked off the back of five straight defeats, with a 1-0 loss to Southampton in November the final straw.
Smith has recently admitted that it was a bit of a shock to lose the Villa job. In doing so, he namechecked three players whose absences all contributed to Villa’s woes early on.
“Did it surprise me? A little bit. There had been an interrupted pre-season, we’d lost the best player I’ve worked with for £100million [Jack Grealish], and had injuries to players like Emi Buendia and Ollie Watkins,” he told The Telegraph.
“But I know the Premier League, it’s tough and the expectation suddenly rose. I’ve never been worried about getting sacked, because I’m not in control of it.”
Clearly, Smith cherishes the time he was able to spend in charge at Villa Park, and he has a lot of admiration for the club.
“If somebody said all that would have happened in the three years when I got the job, I’d have ripped their hand off,” he added.
“I’m in the record books at a historic club for winning those 10 games. I will always say keeping Villa up in that first season is my biggest achievement in management. With the owners they’ve got, they will never be in that position again.”
Smith details Norwich City project
It appears Smith understands that the tough spot his current club Norwich are in could lead to relegation. However, it seems there are plans in place for he and the club for if that does happen.
“We’ve been a bit of a yo-yo club and the aim was to come here and to stop that. If we are to go down, the infrastructure is here to develop and get better, and come straight back up,” he said.
“You have to plan for both scenarios. Fortunately I’ve got a sporting director [Stuart Webber] who has done that before, so we’re ready for either division. We want to be a winning team at Premier League level, that’s the ultimate aim.”
Furthermore, Smith appears to be enjoying his time at Carrow Road.
“It’s a great club to work at, though I don’t enjoy getting beaten as often as we have done,” he said
“When I met Stuart and Neil [Adams, assistant sporting director], I was only too happy to come because I liked the way they ran the club.”