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Aston Villa Will Finish Within Top 10 – Dean Smith

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Sacked Aston Villa manager Dean Smith believes he could have led the club to a top-10 Premier League finish had he remained in the job.

Smith, 50, was dismissed on Sunday after a run of five successive league defeats, with Villa 16th in the table.

Appointed in October 2018, Smith guided Villa to 11th place in the top flight last season, two years after taking them up from the Championship.

“My belief was that we would continue our progression this season,” he said.

Villa were 14th in the Championship when Smith arrived, and after he guided them to promotion, he then kept them in the Premier League on the final day of the season in 2020.

Smith also guided Villa to the 2020 Carabao Cup final, which they lost 2-1 to Manchester City at Wembley.

“To be appointed the head coach of Aston Villa, the club I supported throughout my childhood, was and remains something I am extremely proud of,” said Smith in a statement released by the League Managers Association.

“I understand the football industry and of course, I respect the owners’ decision, but I felt that with important players soon returning to full fitness, we would achieve a top-half finish.”

Villa were involved in significant transfer activity over the summer, buying midfielder Emi Buendia from Norwich in a club record deal that could be worth up to £38m, Jamaica winger Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen for £30m and England striker Danny Ings from Southampton for £25m.

Those signings were funded by the sale of captain Jack Grealish to Manchester City for a British record fee of £100m.

But results have failed to match expectations, with Villa having not collected a Premier League point since beating Manchester United on 25 September.

“One of my roles as head coach at Aston Villa was to improve individual players to enhance on-field performance for the team,” Smith added.

“Playing a part in developing a player who would be transferred for a British record transfer fee, along with creating a pathway for a thriving academy, are all areas in which I feel I’ve more than contributed.”

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