By Graham Hill
DEAN Smith admits he has always been a man who wants to prove people wrong.
The Villa boss says that part of him will still be a fan when he steps out at Tottenham with his squad on Saturday evening.
But he insists he has to ‘park’ the Villa supporter within him when it comes to being a Premier League manager.
Smith told the Daily Mail: “I try to be a normal bloke. I walk the dog at half six but then another dog walker wants a photo. That’s incredible really, isn’t it? I always liked a pint with my mates but that’s a logistical nightmare now.
“But just walking into this place is enough for me. ’I smile as soon as I see that club badge on the gate.
“With my family and my mates I am what I always was, a fan. But at work I have to park that. I just have to.
So there’ll be an awful lot of emotional control going on at Tottenham, even if I know deep down it will get the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.
“You realise quickly that this club means a lot. The history will always be there but I told these players last season they could make themselves legends by getting promoted. Our job now is to create more history.’
Smith says that despite a summer spend of around £130million – he has maintained the ‘heartbeat’ of the club.
He added: “Two days after the play-off final we all sat down and agreed it was key that the players integral to getting us promoted and who had mended that disconnect with the supporters stayed and were made to feel important.
“We’ve done that. We still have that Villa heartbeat in the dressing room, absolutely.”
And he has a message for any critics who say Villa are going to ‘do a Fulham’ or think Smith is not ready for the Premier League yet.
Smith said: “My motivation has always been to prove people wrong, I was told by one of my managers as a 17-year-old that I would never be able to stand up in front of a group and speak. That stayed with me. I wanted to show him.
“I’m all about being consistent. I learned more from the coaches I didn’t like than from the ones I did as I identified the stuff they did that I needed to chuck away.
“I want to be the manager I would’ve wanted to be managed by.
“For example, I don’t want to be high when we win and low when we lose. Players don’t want to see that. They want to see consistency from me if I am to get it back from them.
“After a game, my view is that I can’t change anything so I’m not in the dressing room talking for 20 minutes. With me, it’s one minute. Well done, hard luck and then I’m off.”