DEAN Smith is convinced he can handle the pressure of being Villa manager – and that he is up to the job.

Smith has found himself under the microscope at Villa Park after a run of two wins in 14 games – ahead of their visit to Stoke – which has left their play-off hopes hanging by a thread.

The honeymoon looks to be over for the lifelong Villa fan who replaced Steve Bruce in October.

Fans have been split over the ex-Brentford boss – but most seem prepared to give him the time he needs to rebuild the squad.

Smith told reporters at his pre-match press conference: “Any football club, any business place, any workplace you go to, the word I always use is culture.

“I believe there’s a good culture here, but within that there has to be a togetherness of pushing in the same direction, because it is very difficult if you don’t do that.”

It was the same phrase used by on loan defender Tyrone Mings earlier this week.

Smith added: “You can’t have individuals, you can’t have fragmentation of any sort.

“There has to be a togetherness to drive people forward. If you want to be successful, that is the key word.

“I think we have had it, but there are certainly things we can improve on as well.

“At Brentford, my aim was to be promoted. Every game I went into, I believed we’d win.

“When we didn’t win I would feel it. I don’t feel it any more or less here. I think perhaps my family probably do.

“But I’ve been in the game for 30 years and I understand the nature of it – and the margins that can turn a result from a win to a loss.”


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