By Phil Jennings
VILLA Chief Executive Christian Purslow says Dean Smith is capable of taking his team to a top half finish this season – and use that as a platform to build for the future.
Purslow was speaking at a Q&A for fans in the USA ahead of the friendly with Minnesota.
And he was full of optimism for the new campaign thanks to the backing of owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris and boss Smith.
Purslow was reported by the Under A Gaslit Lamp website as saying: “Not one person that we’ve reached out to sign since I’ve been here has said no. People want to get on board with what what we’re trying to do here.
“Outside of the big six, who have huge financial advantages, if you’re a professional footballer – where else would you rather play, than Villa Park for Aston Villa?
“We need to re-establish ourselves as the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th in the Premier League, and then outperform that achievement.”
Purslow also explained Villa’s summer spending spree which has seen them splash out £100million so far.
He added: “People have said we’re buying a lot of players. We had 12.players – we had to buy some players – we want to have competition in all positions, a lower average age and high potential footballers who have the ability to grow into their careers and Aston Villa. We recognise we can’t build a perfect team in one window – nobody in world football can do that.
“By the time I leave, financially, the club will be on a footing so that it can survive another 140 years.”
Purslow also said Smith is ready to take a positive approach to the Premier League campaign – even at champions Manchester City!
He said: “Dean thinks we should win every game of football. He thinks if they score three, we’ll score four.
“Be ready guys, he’s not going to go away at Manchester City and try and play for a nil-nil. Every game is play to win. We want to surprise people outside of the club.
“Nobody at the club believes we’re going to go straight back down – I think we’re going to have a fantastic season.”
And Purslow gave some of the reasons behind Smith’s appointment last year.
He said: “He was the standout candidate for for reasons, we felt strongly that we wanted a coach committed to playing football the right way, a coach that was intimately acquainted with who and what Aston Villa is.
“We wanted a coach who had a track record in developing and improving young players, and who had the potential to grow rather than regress.
“He said to me that “I bet it didn’t do me any harm to come to an interview at half ten at night” – which is absolutely true.
“There was a shortlist of four or five candidates, and he got the call and was asked if he was interested, and he said “yeah, tonight” – he was interviewed between 10:30pm and 4:30am – it was a six hour interview, which was well dodgy as it was in my hotel room!”