Head Coach Dean Smith spoke to Club TV following the 3-0 friendly win over Minnesota United.
His thoughts in full are below.
On the first pre-season outing…
Yes it was good.
At the end of really intensive week for the players, in the heat and humidity here, to play against a team that’s very well coached, it was pleasing.
We had 22 players get 45 minutes. There was some sloppiness and loose passing, a lot of stuff we haven’t worked on yet in terms of controlling the game without the ball. But all in all, as a fitness exercise and getting back into playing, it was fantastic because we will reap the benefits of the work we have put in this week.
On seeing his principles coming through…
Yes I saw a little bit. Also, we saw how the new players are starting to adapt to how we play, too.
They all had outings tonight and all performed very well.
It’s tough when you come into a new team but they looked like they’ve got it very quickly. Then it’s about building relationships.
We will start having a look at different relationships throughout pre-season.
The two centre-half pairings were Ezri and Kortney and Chezzie and Tyrone.
We have lots of competition.
It’s up to us coaching staff now to mix and match and find out what we believe are going to be the best combinations.
On the new boys…
They hit the ground running.
Jota had a lot of touches in the first half, popped inside and found really good pockets of space on the ball.
It was unfortunate he didn’t score with a right foot shot. He put a really good ball through for Anwar El Ghazi, also.
It was a good goal from Jack Grealish. We possibly could have scored a few more.
If I was being picky, I’d say we were a little bit loose on the ball in that first half. We didn’t press as we would have liked.
We allowed them to play through the two-thirds too quickly. That’s something we can work on and build on.
Defensively I thought our shape was better in the second half but I thought we were wasteful in the final third until the last 10 or 15 minutes.
On being hosted by Minnesota United…
It’s been great and I think we will now share a bond between the two clubs.
The players and staff went to the Dallas game on Saturday and there’s real togetherness at the club here – between players and fans.
I think we are starting to rebuild that togetherness at Villa Park as was seen at the end of last season.
The amount of claret and blue shirts here really surprised me and really pleased me. It was great to see so many out here.
We’re just thankful for Minnesota for putting on the facilities for us and putting on a really good show for us.
On the claret and blue fans…
When I first came out, there were just claret and blue shirts all around the ground.
It was great that they have travelled so far to come and support us.