Tyrone Mings sends strong message amid Dean Smith sack talk at Villa
Aston Villa captain Tyrone Mings knows it’s down to the players to produce on the pitch and ensure the heat is taken off manager Dean Smith.
The Midlands giants sit in mid-table with five fixtures played so far and with the spotlight firmly fixed on Smith. Indeed, Saturday evening’s 3-0 win over Everton – here, we rated and slated the players – could not have been timed better given the focus that had been placed on the boss.
However, Smith will argue that performances have not always merited results. The 3-0 defeat at Chelsea earlier this month for example was a classic case of Villa not getting what they deserved.
That said, it’s not prevented reports stating Smith faces a battle to keep his job. To that end, it’s claimed he needs to show signs of progress under his leadership.
Despite the summer sale of Jack Grealish for a British record £100m, Smith has been backed in the market. He has spent decent money with Danny Ings, Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailey all signing for sizeable fees.
Villa have also brought back Ashley Young and loaned Axel Tuanzebe again from Manchester United.
However, Villa owners Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris are said to be hugely ambitious. They were also said to be disappointed with last season’s bottom-half finish, especially given the early promise Villa had shown.
Furthermore, sources say Smith’s relationship with chief executive Christian Purslow is ‘not a strong one’.
Smith’s cause is also not helped by the fact that coaches John Terry and Richard O’Kelly exited the club just before the start of the new season.
When all is said and done, however, Mings knows it’s largely down to the players to focus on the job in hand.
“We’re obviously going through a little bit of a phase,” he told the club’s official website. “Coaching staff, players have left and other coaching staff and players have come in.
“I don’t want to use the excuse of ‘we need to gel, we need to bed together and understand each other before we have success’. A lot of teams in the same league will also be going through the same things.
“The most important thing for us is that we don’t get frustrated. If the last two years have taught us anything (it) is that no season will ever be the same. We will continue to keep learning.
“Year-on-year development and progress has to be seen as successful for this club.”
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Smith talks up Leon Bailey
One of the men who have come in this summer is Leon Bailey. And much will be expected of him to pick up Villa’s creativity mantle after the departure of Grealish.
He scored his first goal of the season in that victory over the Toffees and Smith reckons they have a top talent on their hands.
“He’s really special. He’s a really good player. That’s why we got him here.
“He’s a good lad; the lads love him. He’s really humble and a good person.”
Bailey himself said on Sky Sports after his first goal: “It means so much to me, to accomplish what I did in the 21 minutes. My family was here and the fans chanting my name when I came on. It is such an amazing feeling. I feel I have welcomed myself here as a Villa player.
“My son is here, he is a great part of my life and had motivated me. My girlfriend has been a backbone for me and my brother has been supportive. I felt comfortable and I felt I needed to do it for them and the fans.
“In the moment I just said I am going to smash the ball. It was bouncing, I took the time to be relaxed, focused to make sure I hit it properly.
“The injury was from the shot, I hit it too hard and started feeling stiff in my quad. I don’t think it was anything too serious but didn’t want to risk it.”
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TEAMtalk’s verdict on possible Smith sack
Would it be wise to get rid of Dean Smith?
Aston Villa is reportedly giving Dean Smith the next three games to the international break to turn things around.