Why this pet is helping Villa’s bid

By Graham Hill

VILLA boss Dean Smith says walking his dog helps him deal with the pressures of promotion.

Smith is preparing his team for the Championship Play-off semi-final against West Brom this week.

And he admits he clears his head by taking his dog out for a walk at 6am every day.

The Villa manager told BBC’s Football Focus: “I am quite a relaxed person anyway.

“But I keep saying every manager needs a dog, I was out at 6am taking him for a walk.

“He’s picked the team a few times without him knowing!”

But Smith says he is not daring to dream of a place in the Premier League just yet.

He knows that Albion will be tough hurdle to get over in a two-legged scenario.

Smith added: “I’m very much a realist, I have to take each game to be honest.

“I don’t allow myself to get too far ahead.”

He says the way to maintain the form Villa have been in going into the play-offs is down to one word.

Smith added: “You have to be consistent. That’s what players need, you have to know what the right things are, that’s what I’m trying to teach.”

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