Dean Smith sat down with the media on Friday to preview Aston Villa’s upcoming Premier League fixture with Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola will bring his side to Villa Park on Sunday afternoon, kick-off: 4:30pm.
It will be Villa’s first home game since the 1-0 win against Norwich City on Boxing Day, when Conor Hourihane grabbed a second-half winner.
Here’s what the boss had to say…
On Manchester City…
“We played the second-placed team in the cup and now we’re playing the team that are third and have won back-to-back titles.
“They have a world-class coach and world-class players, they can afford to spend £50 million on a right back, so we know the test.
“They have had some off days this season – they got beat at Norwich and Wolves – so we must have belief in ourselves, as well as concentration.”
On Villa’s striking options…
“We had a situation [on Wednesday] where Wesley is injured, Keinan Davis is out and Jonathan Kodjia was ill, and we needed our forward-thinking players on the pitch.
“Keinan is a couple of weeks away, and Jonathan hasn’t trained today either.
“We’re working on it [signings] all the time, but do I think we’ll have them by Sunday? No.
“We’re working around the clock; it’s a narrow window and a lot of clubs don’t want their better players to be leaving.
“We would like to get some deals done sharpish, but we know the market and the prices will drop as the month goes on.”
On Ørjan Nyland…
“I’m confident in his ability. When I first arrived, he was the number one but unfortunately he snapped his Achilles and was out for six months.
“Opportunities come around and he’s worked very hard with Neil Cutler to get to the levels that we can expect, and he can certainly play at this level, that’s for sure.”
On Danny Drinkwater…
“He’s got a chance. His career has stalled a little bit since his move to Chelsea, but he’s a very talented footballer who has trained very well so far.
“I’ve seen his impact on the training ground. He can make a difference to the rest of the squad, because he’s a very good player.
“He will get on the ball and improve us. Someone with his experience can only help the dressing room.”