Dean Smith hoping for another night to remember for Aston Villa against West Ham
Dean Smith wants Villa to deliver another night to remember when they resume their Premier League campaign against West Ham.
Villa host the Hammers tonight aiming to kick on after a first month back in the top flight which while not short of promise produced only three points.
They came courtesy of a 2-0 win over Everton, a match played on a Friday in one of the most raucous atmospheres heard at Villa Park for years.
Smith and his players have become increasingly accustomed to performing in front of a raucous home crowd, with the decibel levels steadily rising during last season’s charge to win promotion.
No wonder then, that the boss is relishing another night out in B6.
“The atmosphere at Villa Park has been one to savour,” he said. “I’ve mentioned the West Brom game in the play-offs previously but it seems to have been building from that.
“The last-minute goal by Anwar El Ghazi against Everton took the roof off.”
Though the campaign remains in its infancy, Smith acknowledges there must be much more to come from his team following three defeats in the opening four matches.
“It’s not been a great start but we are still only four points off the Champions League places. It is still early!” he smiled.
“As I’ve said before, those three defeats could have been so different. We are not far away.
“Everyone is looking forward to the games. I said from the start we would go and try to win football matches.
“We are trying to do that. Our performances have not been anywhere near where they can be. That is going to grow. We need to get better. The players are aware of that.”
West Ham arrive in the Midlands looking to build on a promising start which has seen them take seven points from three fixtures following a 5-0 opening day home defeat to champions Manchester City.
Last season’s 10th-placed finish and a summer which saw them spend £45million on striker Sebastien Haller puts the Hammers among a group of clubs with top six aspirations this term.
Their manager Manuel Pellegrini, a Premier League winner with Manchester City, is someone Smith has huge respect for.
“For me, Manuel is a top coach,” he said. “I remember going to listen to him at the Football Museum in Manchester a couple of years back. He’s one who has done 1,000 games as a manager and was giving a talk on that.
“He’s a student of the game and a Premier League champion.
“He’s been involved in a lot of big games, such as River Plate versus Boca Juniors. Everyone can see the job he has done. Our sporting director Suso has told me a number of tales about what a good person he is.
“Everyone can see the job he has done at West Ham. He turned them into a top 10 team last season. His signings and recruitment have been very astute. He’s brought in some very good players.”