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Smith called in to cure Villa woes - Interview
Friday, 26th Oct 2018 14:43 by Clive Whittingham

Squeezing in under the tape ahead of tonight’s clash at Loftus Road, The Heart of the Holte fill us in on a pretty dire start to the season for our big spending visitors Aston Villa.

Not the best start from Villa to say the least, what do you put the early struggles down to?

It's a real mix really, it's fair to say that the financial troubles that became public, and even escalated to the point where administration was a possibility, had a massive impact on the morale at the club, also giving less time to sign players and gel them. The loss of the ever so influential John Terry was a real shame, his leadership and understanding of the game is massively missed, and last season he almost dragged us over the line. Recently sacked Steve Bruce was quickly 'found out' by Villa's new hierarchy, poor performances were there for all to see, and it wasn't just this season that this had occurred. The relationship quickly turned sour and stale, but Villa look somewhat improved since the appointment of Dean Smith.

Presumably sacking Bruce was seen as the right decision? Where did it go so wrong for him?

You'll find the vast majority of the club's fan base will agree that sacking Bruce became inevitable after making a number of comments about the supporters, but even without this it was always going to end the way it did. Performances, and not just this season, have been less than horrendous at times, the lack of organisation and identity in the side left us all wondering what Bruce had been doing on the training ground for the last two years. Steve did himself no favours, leaving the squad massively unbalanced, with only two first team centre backs at the club, he set himself and his squad up perfectly for failure.

Thoughts on Dean Smith’s appointment?

A hugely popular appointment throughout the club, and that isn't just because of his past allegiances with the club. Well known for having his Brentford side (also going back to his days at Walsall) play some of the most organised and tantalising football in the division on a shoe string budget. It's clear his sides are well drilled and coached, something we lack. I think that massively appeals to us all, as supporters, we all want entertainment which wasn't delivered for the most part under Bruce. Deano as he's already been branded has the backing of the supporters, we understand it'll take time, and being the massive job that it is, as well as the squad being deprived of any coaching, it will need time. Rome wasn't built in a day and all that.

Given the talent available, particularly in attacking areas, why can Villa just not get going consistently at this level?

Once again this comes to an unbalanced and uncoached side. As you say, it's clear to see the attacking depth at the club, but a solid and dynamic team is always balanced. A confident keeper, a solid, organised back four, a balance of pace and quick movement of the ball in the middle, and finally the cherry on the icing a goalscorer. Some of the components are there, some not quite so much. As I've already said, the lack of coaching and drills this squad has had the last two years is criminal, it's clearly seen on the pitch from an unorganised and shaky back five (including keeper), to attacks breaking down due to a 'lack of idea'.

Presumably no promotion this year would cause big FFP issues next year with three years spent at this level and parachute payments declining?

QPR know all about FFP with the recent problems you've had, and the same thing is presumably going to hit is over the head, unless promotion is achieved. As supporters we currently don't know too much on the FFP situation so I think less said the better for now...

Stand out players and weak links in the side?

John McGinn will be returning to the starting 11 after his suspension, has been a real shinning star in the middle so far this season, ran the midfield against Swansea, and gas been likened to a pit bull. Constantly attempting to retrieve the ball high up the pitch and has buckets of energy as well as that eye for a pass we all crave. Tammy Abraham just seems unplayable at times, he has it all, pace, power, and a smart mind, has goals in him that's for sure.

Orjan Nyland has had a real shaky start to the season since his arrival from Germany. The keeper just doesn't seem confident in his own ability, or of his back four, with the same being said about the defence. Despite making some stunning saves at times, notably against Swansea, he has many mistakes up his sleeve.

The Twitter @HeartoftheHolte, @loftforwords

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