Image alt text here

Press Conference hot topics: Smith on Derby, coaching staff, Guardiola, Lampard and Grealish's suspension scenario

#DistinctlyVilla: No.47 – ‘AV1’ TV Game: Aston Villa v Leeds United switched
Press Conference hot topics: Smith on Derby, coaching staff, Guardiola, Lampard and Grealish's suspension scenario

Dean Smith addressed the media on Thursday, previewing the Derby County fixture.

His pre-match thoughts are below in full.

On the noticeable high and counter press in matches...

The one thing I want our players to do when they lose the ball is win it back quickly. There's no rocket science in that.

The reactions of the players are very important – when we lose it, let's react quickly and go and get it.

Barcelona, for example, have always been a passing team – especially when Pep Guardiola was there. But what I liked about his teams was that they were hungry to regain possession very quickly.

I want the same. It's important and keeps pressure on the opposition. The lads have worked very hard at it since I've been here.


On how he's overseen the implementation of the press...

We've not changed an awful lot at the training ground.

Our sessions are obviously different, with JT having had some input himself as well.

With regard to chasing the ball back, I think the players have enjoyed the work. They can rest more on the ball and have their breather as they're passing it.

That's always a nice feeling for them, because the opposition are chasing it then.

On Neil Cutler...

I'm really pleased to have him on board – he's a great goalkeeping coach and person to have around.

He wants to keep pushing himself as a coach and improving. He's also got a good record of making goalkeepers better.

He'll certainly do that here.

On Cutler's eye for detail...

He's certainly got that – more information than I ever need to know about!

I've always said to him, 'make sure these goalkeepers keep the ball out of the net, then I'm happy'.

It's up to him to sort those finer details that help towards that.

We've had two clean sheets at home so far – let's hope we can go to Derby and get one as well.

On his work with Ørjan Nyland...

Ørjan has probably had an up and down start to his Villa career.

But since I've arrived he's had two clean sheets and not been at fault much away from home – especially against QPR.

He's had a few hairy moments, but it's all about what you do next. And he's come through the mistakes and looked a more positive goalkeeper before the end of games.

On expanding the coaching set-up...

We are where we are at the moment.

I have regular meetings with Suso and Christian, giving ideas of how to take the club forward.

We'll continue to evolve as time goes on.


On the defence...

We took them in for 10 minutes this morning alongside JT.

We watched some clips of Derby and how they defend, as well as how well other teams do so – like Napoli, Juventus and Chelsea. Top teams.

The players want to improve and it's good to show them the best players in the world at times.

On Derby County...

It'll be a tough challenge. 

I've already been there with Brentford this year and they were very destructive after going behind.

It showed how good some of their players are, but there's also going to be opportunities for us to exploit their weaknesses.

Frank Lampard has done well so far. He went in and realised what he needed and has some good, young loan players to supplement the experienced ones they had already.

They certainly play with a lot of energy and have had a good start.

I fully respect what they're doing but I'm in no way fearful of them. We've got some good players of our own who'll look forward to facing Derby.


On Jack Grealish being one yellow card away from suspension...

He knows the situation – I've not had to speak to him. He's got to play his normal game.

Some of his bookings have been through frustration – mostly at being kicked all over the place.

He'll need a little more emotional control as of now.

On Grealish knowing he'll miss Blues with a caution on Saturday...

Being a Villa fan, I'm sure it's one he wants to play in.

At the same time, he can't worry about that specifically. He needs to focus on the game.

FOR Email Footer

Dan Connor
By @danconnor 8th November 2018