With a second victory under his belt at Aston Villa following our return to winning ways against Bolton Wanderers last weekend, new head coach Dean Smith will be hoping to make it back to back victories as we go into this weekend’s clash with Frank Lampard’s Derby County.
We make the trip to Pride Park on Saturday afternoon for the game and Smith was holding his pre-game press conference earlier this afternoon, and with plenty of discussion amongst fans as to what changes the new gaffer has already implemented and those he will want to bring in as the season progresses, this quote stood out to me.
???????? Press Conference: Dean Smith on approach – “What Pep brought in at @FCBarcelona – and I liked – was how hungry they were to win the ball back – that was new. I want our players to win the ball back quickly. It’s important”
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) November 8, 2018
It would be spurious to make comparisons here for the obvious reasons, but I’d say one clear change that we’ve seen since game one has been Smith’s desire for us to be more energetic when out of possession so we get the ball back quicker, and dictate matches at our pace and get the opposition chasing and wasting energy.
We’ve even had some talk of it previously from him when he’s spoken of fitness levels so it shouldn’t come as a great surprise, but I find it pleasing that he’s so open about wanting to be more on the front foot. It sends a clear message to our players and no doubt backs up what he’s asking for on the training pitch, but it also sends out a good message to prospective recruits.
We are forming a playing ethos and we’re effectively putting it out there so everyone knows.
Small steps, but the right ones.