Smith warns of Tottenham backlash and ridicules Mourinho claims

Dean Smith Aston Villa boss

Dean Smith has told his Aston Villa players to be on guard against ‘wounded animal’ Tottenham on Sunday – and has scoffed at claims that Jose Mourinho’s job is on the line.

Villa host Spurs on Sunday, with the north Londoners’ season hanging by a thread after their Europa League exit.

They lost their last-16 second-leg tie 3-0 at Dinamo Zagreb after extra time to exit 3-2 on aggregate. After a comfortable 2-0 first-leg win, it has led to speculation that Mourinho’s job is on the line. Indeed, Daniel Levy is said to have set out conditions for which Mourinho may lose his job.

It all means Sunday’s trip to Villa Park becomes a pressure game for Spurs and Mourinho. With Spurs down in eighth, the least they need is to miss the chance to close the gap on the top four.

With all that in mind, Smith is warning Villa to be wary of a response on Sunday.

He said: “The result for us is probably the wrong thing because I can expect Jose Mourinho to get a backlash from his players and for them to come out fighting at Villa Park.

“We have to make sure that we concentrate on ourselves rather than Tottenham.


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“It’s a squad that is littered with very good players, none more so than Harry Kane. We have to be at our best to get anything out of this game.

“The thing that helps us more than anything is the fact that their game went to extra time.”

Smith words of comfort for Mourinho

Victory for Villa will move them a point behind Spurs in the Premier League and keep their own European hopes alive.

On the flip side, a third defeat in a week would hit Tottenham hard. Hugo Lloris criticised the squad’s attitude after defeat on Thursday. The French goalkeeper also hinted at divisions in the dressing room.

But Smith insists Mourinho will emerge from the trouble at Spurs still standing.

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“I look at him in awe in terms of what he has achieved already. They won five and lost two and all of a sudden it’s a crisis,” said Smith, who will make a late call over the fitness of Jack Grealish.

“He has been in these situations before. He will come out of it as well, as he has done before.

“We can’t control what Tottenham do, we can only control ourselves and that’s what I’ll be stressing to the players.

“If there is any chink (in the armour) we have to take advantage of it.”

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