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Football Reporting


Dean Smith outlines Aston Villa targets for next season and owners’ plan for success

Dean Smith reckons his Aston Villa side face their toughest challenge yet to break into the Premier League’s elite.

Smith has guided Villa to promotion and then 17th and now 11th place finishes since taking over in October 2018.

Villa beat Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Everton in the top-flight this season.

Their haul of 55 points would have been good enough for a top ten finish every year of the Premier League since 1994.

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Villa fans now want the club to push on and compete for Europe after spending over £200million since going up under billionaire owners Nassef Sawiris and Wesley Edens.

Smith, 50, reflected: “Our ambitions are to keep progressing and growing.

Dean Smith feels Aston Villa have a bigger task to get into the top half than they faced last season
Dean Smith feels Aston Villa have a bigger task to get into the top half than they faced last season

“But I think to climb from 17th to 11th is a lot easier than to climb from 11th to the top six or seven because the size of the clubs who are there.

“You look and everybody will say Liverpool and Chelsea probably struggled a bit this season in the League.

“Yet they still finished in the top four at the expense of West Ham and Leicester.

“Their resources are a lot bigger than a lot of the other clubs in the league.

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“We are still playing catch up in that sense.

“Arsenal probably suffered this season, Tottenham will be getting a new manager, Everton and Leeds all finished above us as well.

“Our job now is to try and progress and overtake them which is a difficult thing to do.

“But there is a plan in place and something things will happen quicker than others.

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“We didn’t expect to get promoted that first season and we did.

“Our job was to then stay up and we managed to do that and progressed again.

“It will be about progression but we also understand things take time to become a elite part of that group.”

Villa have won the top-flight seven times, including most recently in 1981 before winning the European Cup the next year.

But the club have not won a major trophy since the 1996 League Cup.

Where will Villa finish next season? Have your say below.

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They spent big to try to change that under former owner Randy Lerner and then boss Martin O’Neill from 2006-2010 before cut-backs and relegation ensued.

Smith now believes Sawiris , Edens and chief executive Christian Purslow are planning a more sustainable successful long-term future after their kids also just won the FA Youth Cup.

Smith added: “From my interactions with the owners they are very astute businessmen who have a strategic plan for Aston Villa.

“Part of that plan is to go and compete with the upper echelons in this league.

“That is where they want the football club to go and they want to grow the brand of Aston Villa across the world.

“But they are also aware that takes time.

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“Every Aston Villa fan can feel in safe hands with these owners.

“We have now got the youngest age group on the longest contracts in the Premier League.

“We know these players will get better.

“We want players coming to Aston Villa to spend six-seven years at the football club.

“That means the football club is progressing and is an important part of the plan.”

The club are investing in their training ground and academy, including a new centre near Villa Park to harvest inner city talent.

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Wheels are also moving on two-three classy targets this summer, including Norwich’s Argentine midfielder Emiliano Buendia, who had 15 goals and 16 assists this term.

Smith added: “We want to go and bring in quality over quantity this year.”

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