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July 26, 2020 11:07 pm
Delighted Dean Smith admits securing Aston Villa’s Premier League status gives him more joy than the club’s promotion to the top flight 12 months ago.
The Villa Head Coach guided the club to safety with a precious point courtesy of a tense 1-1 draw against West Ham United on a dramatic final day.
Speaking to VillaTV post-match at London Stadium, the Villa boss spoke of his pride at the “magnificent achievement”.
Here’s what Smith had to say…
“I feel better than I did after getting us promoted last year in the play-offs, and that’s the honest truth.
“It’s been a tough season but a really enjoyable one.
“I’ve learned a lot, about myself, about the players.
“It’s a magnificent achievement, it shouldn’t be overlooked.
“Whether we got relegated or stayed up, my words would have been the same.
“We had a big turnaround in the summer and we had to rebuild the squad, made 12 changes.
“People looked at the amount of money we spent rather than what we had to do.
“We’re averaging £9.5million per player, which, in the Premier League, is not big by any means.
“And it’s taken time.
“Douglas Luiz, who has been outstanding for the last 10 games, walked through the door two days before the Tottenham game (on the opening day).
“Walking off that pitch at Leicester, we felt low.
“Unfortunately a lot of people have lost their lives due to a pandemic, my dad included.
“But we used that period to make sure we were tough, stronger, defensively resolute.
“We managed to help continue building the culture, it’s very difficult to build a culture straightaway.
“You can see from the players’ reactions at the end, the team spirit that’s been there over the last 10 games.
“I’m immensely proud of every one of them.”
“They were good.
“I was annoyed because I didn’t think we played well, especially in the first half, I thought we started the second half better.
“I said to Jack he’s going to score today, you don’t go 10 games without a goal. It’s a superb finish.
“I’m just disappointed we didn’t keep a clean sheet away from home all season.
“The lads have deserved a clean sheet away from home but a deflected strike opens it up and just leads to a few more nerves in the last five minutes.”
“I’m pleased for the supporters because I didn’t want it just to be up one season and down the next.
“I’m really proud of them and pleased we can be hopefully filling Villa Park next season if rules allow.”
You can watch Dean’s full interview now with VillaTV, click here.