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Dean Smith: Players taking more responsibility than ever

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Dean Smith: Players taking more responsibility than ever

Dean Smith says his Aston Villa players are taking more responsibility than ever before – highlighting it as a reason for an upturn in results throughout March.

Villa have won four in a row this month to reignite hopes of a top-six finish, scoring 11 times to see off top-half sides Derby County, Birmingham City, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough.

In that period, Jack Grealish has also become captain, Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause have formed a superb partnership at centre-half and Jed Steer has conceded just once to put down a marker in goal.

And Smith believes the exemplary attitudes and performances we've seen have been key to putting the spark back into our season.

He said: "There's still more to come. Definitely. I see that in training.

"We've started doing debriefs over the last month where players actually debrief themselves.

"I've put them in small groups and they've picked out things they can do better, as well as things they've done well.

"It's something we want them to do because, ultimately, when they cross the white line – they're the decision makers.

"We want to give them as much responsibility as we can, and they seem to be thriving on that. That's good for us."

Smith also shed light on his planning methods during the final international break of the campaign.

The Head Coach touched upon his six-week plan, that now sees him having half an eye on the final matches of the regular calendar.

SmithInternationalBreak2

He added: "We're really looking forward to it.

"I know it's an important time when I do my six-week planner and I'm at the penultimate game of the season.

"We know we're getting to the nitty gritty part of the season. We go into that in good form.

"There's great competition at the moment, too. People are having to work really hard to keep their shirts.

"I see a competitiveness in training. And now, in matches, there's players reaching the top of the ability and others getting close.

"I want to keep pushing the boundaries of how good they can be."

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Dan Connor
By @danconnor 22nd March 2019