By Graham Hill
DEAN Smith has revealed the half-time rollocking that began Aston Villa’s promotion push.
The Villa boss admitted he laid into his players after a poor first half at Stoke City in February.
Villa came from a goal behind to draw – and they have won EVERY game since.
They put together a record breaking run of 10 games and will be looking to extend it at a Leeds side that has stuttered in recent weeks despite topping the table when they beat Villa 3-2 in December.
If Villa win again, they equal an all-competition record of 11 victories set in 1897.
And Smith said it took a rare moment to raised voices to get Villa on track.
Smith said: “I don’t go in the dressing room very often and let rip – so it probably has an effect when I do.
“I thought we were more individualistic than a team at Stoke and needed to get back together.
“The message got across, but there’s thousands of little messages that make the big difference from all of us.”
Smith also admitted his Aston Villa players are going ‘nose to nose’ at times in training.
He says preparations for games are so intense at the moment they almost come to blows.
And Smith says competition is so hot for places that tempers sometimes boil over during training – and he leaves them to it!
The Villa boss said: “It’s probably the environment we’ve created here.
“We want to see winners and losers out on the training ground as well as on a Saturday.
“It makes for a healthy environment.
“I let them do it. I am not going to get in the middle and catch one off them! I leave that to them.
“They’re quite competitive but also reasonable. They know where the line is and sort it out themselves.”