Dean Smith spoke to members of the local and national media ahead of Aston Villa’s final Premier League game of the season on Sunday.
Ahead of the trip to the London Stadium, the boss discussed how he’s coping with the pressure, the mindset of his squad and team news for West Ham.
Here’s what he had to say…
On team news…
“Ahmed Elmohamady came off [against Arsenal] with a hamstring injury, so he won’t be fit for Sunday.
“We’re hopeful that Neil Taylor will be back with the squad. He’s due to train tomorrow and he’ll do a little bit of sprinting. Hopefully he’ll be back in the squad.”
On facing West Ham…
“The mindset is to play with the same belief and confidence as we have done over the last few weeks.
“If we go and do that, we can get a win at West Ham. We’re also mindful of the fact that although they’re safe now, they’ve been very good recently.
“They had a massive win against Watford and a big point against a really in-form Manchester United in the week.”
On the demands of Project Restart…
“I don’t know about the players, but it’s been physically demanding on myself and the coaching staff.
“It’s been tough for the players. To come into a period of games with less training than you would normally have, that was always going to be tough.
“My wife has always told me that you cope with whatever is thrown at you and you deal with it. These lads have managed to deal with it so far.
“We’ve got one game to go and we know it’s a massive one.”
On the season finale…
“We control our own destiny and that’s what we wanted to have going into the last game.
“It was looking unlikely and that we’d have to rely on others, but results went our way in the week and we’re above the dotted line at the moment.
“The most important thing is to be above that dotted line on Sunday and we know we have to win to guarantee that. We’ll be going all-out to win.”