Richard O’Kelly: We will evolve for the Premier League, not change

July 14, 2019 10:30 am

Assistant Coach Richard O’Kelly says Aston Villa will not change their approach to matches in the Premier League this season.

Our No.2 insists the team will simply evolve, and not alter the blueprint as we return to the most entertaining league in the world.

He and Head Coach Dean Smith have a long-standing reputation for an attractive, progressive implementation of style – something that was a key factor in their appointment back in October.

And fans can get ready for more of the same, according to O’Kelly, who admits he’s been waiting a long time to coach on this stage.

He said: “The blueprint is the same. We are what we are.

“Dean Smith is who he is. I am who I am also, as is John Terry and the rest of the coaching staff.

“We all believe in the same thing and that’s why we’re here. We know what we want to do. There’s also really good people here. That’s important.

“On a personal level, it’s the moment I’ve been waiting for all my life.

“I’ve been coaching 30 years, so it’s taken a while. But I got here eventually!”

On what facets of the game will change notably in the top-flight, O’Kelly believes it will be the ‘pressure’ while in and out of possession.

That, he says, will be an integral part of the work completed out in Minnesota, where Villa have rounded off day two of their pre-season camp.

He added: “In the Premier League we’ll be under pressure, with and without the ball.

“They’ll have to keep a cool head, play forwards at the right time and be compact at the right time.


“Those are things that will stand us in good stead. We have to make sure everything we do has an outcome to it. We’ll be working towards that this week.

“The running stats are probably the main difference, too. They’re higher in the Premier League.

“It’s also a belief from the players in terms of what they’re doing. All the top sides make mistakes, but you don’t realise they do, because of how they react to them.

“They’re so supportive of each other and that’s what we want Aston Villa to be – a forward-thinking, attacking side.”