Dean Smith calls on Aston Villa to finish the job as they set sights on Championship play-off final
Dean Smith has called on Villa to finish the job as they set sights on the Championship play-off final.
Players will report back to Bodymoor Heath at the weekend when preparations for the May 27 showdown with Derby will begin in earnest.
Smith granted his team some extra recovery time after Tuesday night’s dramatic semi-final shootout win over Albion, a victory which sparked emotional and lengthy celebrations on The Hawthorns pitch.
But the boss has not lost sight of the ultimate goal and could be seen mouthing the words “one more” to the jubilant away support.
Villa are aiming to go one better after losing to Fulham at Wembley 12 months ago.
Smith said: “There is still one to go. We can be proud of getting to the final of the play-off but we know it will be tough.
“We are one game from getting to the Premier League. The lads can go and enjoy themselves for a couple of days before we start setting sights on that game.
“A few of the players will have tasted the defeat and how hard that was last season. They will look to go one better.
“There is a little bit of a local rivalry here. You cannot forget that for this game. You can understand why they are celebrating after knocking West Brom out of the play-offs.
“There is still one game to go and a big game at that. We will be looking forward to it.”
Smith watched last night’s second leg on television after joking he would need to “wear a disguise” if he attended the game at Elland Road, following Villa’s controversial draw against Leeds last month.
But it is Derby who they will face at Wembley for a place in the Premier League, a team who they beat in both Championship meetings this season.
“We have gotten into a habit of taking one game at a time,” said Smith. “We only have one game left now.
“We will be excited by it. It is a challenge. We keep throwing challenges at these boys and they keep on accepting them and doing well.”