Head Coach Dean Smith was happy with the first hour of the match against Spurs. He admitted the team did not take care of the ball well enough after that point. But he remained hopeful — saying the players appear to have adapted to the system well. Ball retention, bravery, and finishing chances — all need to improve.
Being at home — Smith told the crowd of journalists that the team must make sure that Villa Park is a tough place to play. He is looking to take some of the positives from the Spurs match — but also improve on things — specifically mentioning ball retention again. The Squad has the ability to play good football and work hard — that is what brings crowds behind the team. The season will be “defined” by home games. The team has to perform at Villa Park.
Smith was full of praise for the opposite manager Eddie Howe — and they know each other well from matching up through the English Leagues — “They look a very well coached team,” and his teams have improved year over year. But Smith made no bones about the challenge — saying every match in the Premier League is a challenge.
Looking to the players — Smith expects Mings to be liked by his former team (as well as his current team) — and perform well. Smith dismissed the Kodjia transfer rumors — the club is not welcoming offers, Kodjia is happy, and no outgoings expected.
Injury update: James Chester still out. Kourtney Hause sidelined with an ankle injury. Kodjia picked up a knock against Spurs — out about 10-12 days with an high ankle sprain.
Smith trained the club at Villa Park on Tuesday. Some of the new signings may never been to the park and he didn’t want anyone surprised by the location — though it is expected to be slightly different when it is full of supporters. Smith says the whole team — new and old players — are excited to walk out on the pitch as a Premier League side at home Saturday against Bournemouth.