Image alt text here

Press Conference hot topics: Smith on Bolton, internal training ground game, poignant night at Villa Park and Christmas fixtures

Team news: Adomah, Bjarnason, Bolasie Remembrance Day: Paying tribute to the Aston Villa heroes who served
Press Conference hot topics: Smith on Bolton, internal training ground game, poignant night at Villa Park and Christmas fixtures

Dean Smith met with the media at Bodymoor Heath on Thursday afternoon, addressing written, broadcast and radio journalists ahead of the Bolton game.

Here are the best picks from his latest briefing.


On a full week of training for the first time...

It's gone really well.

We had the game last Friday night, which allowed us to recover for a couple of days first. Three games in six days was a big jolt to the players' systems.

They recovered well, and now we've had a good four-day build-up where they've been really receptive to all the work that we've done.

We've not overloaded them and it's allowed us to get some really good tactical and physical work in.

In between, we had an internal game. That allowed me to look at some of the U23s and players like Henri Lansbury and James Bree, who've not had match exposure.

Overall, it's been a great week.

On that internal game...

It was really good. Sometimes the pace of it isn't what you want and you don't get an awful lot out of it.

I think it gave them all an opportunity to show me, Richard [O'Kelly] and John [Terry] what they're about.

There was a good tempo, with good professionals like Mile Jedinak playing. It was played at a good pace and showed me a lot.

We got what we wanted.

On work away from the training field...

We sat down and analysed the QPR game and had a debrief on Monday morning.

We spoke about some things we can do better and some of the positives.

It's about how we take it forwards into the coming games now. It's been a chance for the players to get into discussions, which is what I want – them to be responsible.

Some of the points they raised were really good and we'll take that forward into games now.

On the squad adapting to the style of play...

I can't speak for the squad but from what I've seen in training they've done very well.

They're very receptive to the ideas. More importantly, they're a good group who want to get better.

Normally you see one or two who you're not sure about, but not here. They've been great.

The standards here have been very good.


On the challenge of Bolton Wanderers...

It'll be another game that Aston Villa are expected to win. But they'll have something to say about that.

Phil Parkinson did a great job last year in keeping them up.

They've also had a lot of off-field issues that they've handled very well.

They've got a capable squad who can cause teams problems. They beat Derby a few weeks ago, who in my opinion have been one of the best teams in the league this season.

Bolton have players capable of scoring goals and we'll have to be at our best on the night.

On a night of paying respects at Villa Park...

There was a tragedy at the weekend and our hearts go out to Leicester City, the families of those involved and the supporters.

It's absolutely tragic.

It coincides with Remembrance Day acknowledgments for us, and the chance to honour the servicemen who lost their lives for this country as well.

It'll be poignant on Friday evening.


On a solid attendance of 30,000+ on a Friday night...

That's another good turnout from the home supporters.

My first game a few weeks ago was fantastic – a 42,000 sell-out.

To be getting 30,000+ on a cold Friday night when we're currently down in the bottom half of the table shows me what this club means to a lot of people.

I've had a lot of well-wishers and people telling me they've seen the difference in the style of play already.

We played ok at QPR. Now it's the result we want to get right. That will follow.

On the run coming up, that contains Blues, Boro, Albion, Stoke and Leeds...

It excites me – they're all good teams and mouthwatering fixtures.

But we're not fearful of those games.

We'll give everyone in the league the respect they deserve, but won't fear anyone.


Dan Connor
By @danconnor 1st November 2018