Smith reveals his Villa message

By Graham Hill

VILLA boss Dean Smith has revealed one of the mottos behind their late-season promotion charge.

Smith has placed the emphasis on his team with Villa on their way to what looked an unlikely play-off place two months go.

The Villa manager felt his side were playing like individuals at Stoke in February and he told them so at half-time.

Since then, Villa have played like a team with barely a weak link in sight.

And Smith says that is very much part of the framework behind the scenes at Bodymoor Heath.

The Villa boss explained: “One of the things we push throughout the club is ‘Be a good team mate’.

“If you can do that then the team has a good chance.”

Smith says it is important not to play the blame game and take respsonsibility.

He added: “You need a team of leaders.

“There was a lot said when I opted to let the players choose their captain, game-in, game-out.

“I felt that it was what the group needed at the time.

“Here, I had no qualms about giving it to Jack Grealish.

“He’s well respected in the dressing room, and in the likes of Glenn Whelan, Mile Jedinak and Tommy Elphick, they are natural-born leaders anyway. It’s certainly given Jack a boost.”

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