Dean Smith: “I was a manager there a month ago and someone decided I was no longer a manager. I didn’t control it, so I moved very fast.” Norwich City play Aston Villa at Carrow Road on Tuesday
Norwich boss Dean Smith said Wednesday’s clash with Aston Villa would be a game in itself, even if it was emotional.
Villa fan Smith was fired last month after managing Villa Park for three years, but was out of work for just a week before signing for Norwich.
He admits that meeting Villa early can be uncomfortable for his family and friends, but for him it’s a normal affair.
“To be honest, this is the next game,” he said. “I was a manager there a month ago and someone decided I was no longer a manager. I didn’t control it, so I left very quickly.
“I’m enjoying life in Norwich. Tomorrow will be Aston Villa. It’s the same if it was Manchester City or Liverpool. I have to score three points.”
“I made a statement when he left the football club and I follow his every word. They kept moving forward and I left.
“In 34 years of professional football, only three of them have been at Aston Villa, so you have to move as fast as I support Leighton Orient, Walsall, Port Wales, Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford.
“I will always be a Villa fan. I was very proud that my son came back from America. He wanted to watch the Liverpool-Villa game more than Norwich-Manchester United. My family are all Villa fans. But I know. He will play tomorrow night. and will support Norwich. “
Steven Gerrard has replaced Smith with three of the five games he has led, while Norwich has been at the bottom of the Premier League table despite his enthusiastic performances.
Smith hopes his inner knowledge of Villa will help: “Of course I brought most of them because I know the strengths and weaknesses of all the players.
“But they also know what I’m going to do because they know what I’m doing. Stephen came in there with his own ideas. When you look at the games, you’re starting to learn a little bit about them. They’ll be with my Norwich team.”
The Canaries are still without a number of players due to injuries, with defender Grant Hanley joining the squad after suffering a shoulder injury in Saturday’s defeat to Manchester United.
Brandon Williams was not allowed to fight his parents’ club, so Ben Gibson should be able to follow in his footsteps if necessary.
Christos Tsolis isolating Covid-19, but other team members tested negative on Sunday, with Smith saying:
“We were told there was a wave. Fortunately, we were vaccinated very well. I received additional treatment myself and hope that other people will be vaccinated as soon as possible.”
Norwich were beaten on Saturday only by a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo, and Smith hopes Tuesday’s game could be a cause for optimism.
He said: “We recently played at home against Tottenham and at home against Manchester United. Our level of performance was really good. We need to make better decisions for the last three. If we can do that, we will be fine.”