Warnock hails Smith and Grealish

By Graham Hill

NEIL WARNOCK says Dean Smith has had to make a huge leap from Brentford to Aston Villa in terms of expectation.

The seasoned Cardiff boss says there is a world of difference to managing the Bees – who are rarely among the Championship promotion places – and Villa who are still thought of as a Premier League team looking to get back to the top flight.

Smith is back in the play-off places after four wins in a row – but for a while it looked like Villa would have to be happy with a mid-table spot.

Warnock told TalkSport: “The expectations at Villa are so big.

“But I think Dean’s coped with that.

“He’s in a learning process for him because it’s a massive club.

“When you got to a massive club, no disrespect to Brentford, it’s such a big step.

“The expectations and the media and what have you. He seems to have turned that around.”

Warnock also had his say on Villa skipper Jack Grealish who he has accused of going down too easily in the past.

And he said he is surprised Grealish is not already in the top flight.

He missed out on a move to Tottenham last summer.

But the Bluebirds manager added: “The fitness of Grealish is important, he has missed a few games but you can’t your eyes off him.

“I’m surprised he is not a Premier League player – even though we’ve had our run-ins I do respect him, I think he is a fabulous player.”

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