Manager Dean Smith insists Aston Villa will be targeting three points against Chelsea in Sunday’s season finale and feels the return of fans to Villa Park will help them achieve their aim.
The Villans welcome the Blues to the West Midlands looking to conclude their campaign on a positive note. There is nothing but pride riding on the game for the hosts. They will finish in 11th spot in the standings regardless of the result after an indifferent last few months.
Having started the season with four straight wins, Smith’s side have slipped steadily down the table. Just three wins from their last 16 outings means they will not secure a top-10 finish this term.
But they have a chance to end with back-to-back victories after downing Tottenham 2-1 on Wednesday evening. That would be music to the ears of both Liverpool and Leicester.
The two clubs are fighting with Chelsea for the two remaining top-four spots and a place in the Champions League. The Blues sit third on 67 points while Jurgen Klopp’s Reds occupy fourth thanks to Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over Burnley.
Wins for the duo would mean Leicester narrowly miss out on the top four for the second consecutive season. But should either or them fail to take all three points and Leicester beat Spurs, then the Foxes will make it.
“We are up against a very good team and a very good coach who has reached back-to-back Champions League finals,” he told Friday’s press conference. “We will go all out to win. I expect the mentality and attitude that we saw at Tottenham on Wednesday.”
And the boss believes the returning fans will demand nothing less than 100 per cent.
“The players know what our supporters expect and what they want to see,” he added. “Having 10,000 fans back, it will motivate myself and all the players.”
Smith eyes Villa improvement
Villa sat fifth at the turn of the year but have been unable to keep up that momentum. Four defeats from six outings in January and early February seemed to knock their confidence and they never really recovered.
But there is now an opportunity for the players to go into their summer break feeling positive. And that is exactly what the manager craves as he looks to the future.
“We want more, because we were in a really good position in January,” continued Smith. “We have to strive to keep getting better, it’s that consistency that we want.”