Dean Smith out to keep proving doubters wrong as Aston Villa target Premier League summit

Dean Smith has challenged Villa to keep proving the doubters wrong as they aim to go top of the Premier League.

Villa boss Dean Smith.
Villa boss Dean Smith.

Villa require only a point from Friday’s home clash with Leeds to hit the summit for the first time since November 2001.

Smith’s team have already equalled the club’s best-ever start to a league campaign by winning their opening four fixtures, still less than three months after avoiding relegation by a single point.

The head coach used outside negativity as a source of motivation during the closing weeks of last season.

And though his players are now receiving praise after their excellent start, he knows there will be others waiting for them to stumble.

“I think what I originally said last season about proving people wrong still stands,” said Smith.

“There will be people who now say ‘they have won four on the spin, they won’t win any more’ or ‘they won’t be up there for much longer’.

“The game and life is always about proving people wrong.

“Football is a great game of opinions. Some people have outspoken opinions and your job is to try and prove them wrong.”

Smith can become the first Villa boss since John Gregory to take a team top of the Premier League.

But while the achievement would further highlight the dramatic turnaround in recent months, Smith is aware the season remains very much in its infancy.

“It (going top) obviously means something because it proves you are doing well,” he said. “But I have always been a big believer that after 38 games is when it means the most.

“We have just got to continue to work hard and keep improving with each game. It is a tough league and if you are off it at any stage you get a bloody nose.

“We have got a wonderful focus at the moment in the squad and that is allowing us to get the results we are.”

Victory would see Smith’s players make another piece of history, with no Villa team having ever won the opening five league matches of a season. It would also equal the club record for consecutive Premier League wins.

The boss said: "I think our role always as head coach or players is to try and create history for the club.

“That's our role, however that history may come we're in a results-based industry and everybody will always look at the history of what the club has done before.

"We were fortunate enough in the Championship to win games 10 games on the spin for the first time in the club's history. We've won a play-off final for the first time in the club's history.

"Now we've had a good start and it's the first time since 1930 that we've won the first four games.

"We'll look to continue trying to make history for the football club, that means you're having successful times."

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