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The Boss: Smith on eight in a row, pride in his players, being outright fifth, biggest attendance and Grealish/Kodjia absence

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The Boss: Smith on eight in a row, pride in his players, being outright fifth, biggest attendance and Grealish/Kodjia absence

Dean Smith reflected on eight consecutive Sky Bet Championship victories as we beat Bristol City 2-1 on Saturday.

Read his thoughts in full below.

On eight wins in a row for the first time since 1975...

It's some feat and it was a great performance.

With the exception of Sheffield Wednesday, I don't think there's any out of the eight that we didn't deserve to win.

The performances have been very good, and it was another good one today with some key players missing.

Jack Grealish and Jonathan Kodjia were absentees that fell on our lap this morning. Tyrone Mings was also missing.

As a result, it meant the likes of Jacob Ramsey, who played 90 minutes for the U23s last night, coming onto the bench.

To a man, the performance was excellent. The only thing was we could have perhaps made it more comfortable for ourselves.

We had a lot of chances and their goalkeeper had an unbelievable day. But we deserved it.

On the half-time message...

I said to them take your chances.

We've hit the post and Conor Hourihane has had a header saved in that first half.

I'm glad Conor scored in the end because he could have had three or four today!


On individual performances...

Mile Jedinak has come in and played a full game for us. Axel Tuanzebe got another 90 minutes.

I also think Neil Taylor has been exceptional for us over the last month, alongside Ahmed Elmohamady.

I could speak about all of them. John McGinn – what energy. Glenn Whelan. Keinan Davis was exceptional when coming on. 

I've run out of superlatives for this team and how they're playing. I've got nothing but pride in these players.


On grinding out wins when we concede...

I think a big part of it is belief.

But the other thing that really helps is the supporters.

We don't panic anymore and we look to kick on and score more goals, despite conceding. It's a credit to everyone at the club.

We didn't walk on egg shells once Bristol City scored today.


On claiming fifth spot outright...

That's important, we want it to be in our hands.

We'll have a few days off now and then start concentrating on Easter weekend.

I've certainly got some problems picking a team for that one!

We're in a good position and personally I'm delighted with eight on the spin as Aston Villa manager.

On Kodjia and Grealish's absence...

Kodjia had a knock to his ribs on Wednesday evening.

He wasn't too bad yesterday and had an injection, but was still sore this morning. He'll have a scan.

We had to send Grealish home ill on Friday.

We had the phonecall this morning that he couldn't even climb the stairs at home. He's got a temperature.

With Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause out as well, these players showed they could still go out and get the job done. I've got a lot of belief in all of them now.


On making it nine in a row...

I'd love to, and it's the aim. The players would love to as well.

They've got the bit between their teeth at the moment and they'll keep pushing.

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Dan Connor
By @danconnor 13th April 2019