By Graham Hill
VILLA boss Dean Smith admits there are times when his promotion-chasing players are doing his talking for him.
Smith says it is the team who conduct the post-match debrief these days rather than him and his coaching staff of Richard O’Kelly and John Terry.
And he says it speaks volumes for the squad Villa have these days that they are able to take responsibility for what happens out on the pitch.
These days of course, a post match dressing down from the manager is a rare thing after Villa won their last 10 games.
But Smith says his Villa squad is working like clockwork to the extent that he is happy for the team to be self-starters.
The Villa boss told reporters: “The players themselves take great ownership of what they are doing at the moment.
“We did a debrief on the Millwall game on Thursday and it was the players who took it – not myself JT or Richard.
“When you have things like that you know you’re on to a good thing.
“I’ll probably separate them into three groups – in possession, out of possession and set pieces.
“Players will see eight or nine clips and they’ll pull three or four out themselves to present to the rest of the players.
“Some of it will be self-critical, some of it things we are doing really well. It is all about the team improving.”
It is a theme of Smith’s management and coaching methods.
He made headlines at Brentford when he got the players to pick a different team captain for each game.
He added: “The debriefs were something I’ve done before at Brentford, I’m sure there’ll be other clubs doing it.
“We don’t reinvent the wheel here, we just try and make people get better.
“This is something we’ve been doing for two or three months, players have to buy into it.
“The staff have to buy into it as well, it’s got to be something we all agree on and will make us better. We feel it’s something that does.”