Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, former Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie is confident his old side will progress under Dean Smith despite their recent struggles.
After a bright start to the season, the Villans have really underperformed of late. Following their recent 2-0 defeat to Tottenham, they have now won just one of their last five Premier League fixtures, a development that may leave some asking questions of the manager.
Smith has been unable to get the team firing in the absence of captain Jack Grealish, arguably showing that the Englishman’s system heavily relies on the attacking midfielder.
Nevertheless, Hendrie has complete faith in the former Brentford boss, firmly believing that he is the man to take the club forward.
When asked if Villa had perhaps peaked under Smith, Hendrie told FFC in an exclusive interview:
“No chance, not a chance at all. Since he’s come in, he’s been a breath of fresh air, he’s a Villa man himself. It’s well-documented where his background’s come from. Listen, the thing is, what’s gone against Villa this season is the reflection of last season of where they were so poor. They’re in a relegation scrap for most of the season, they end up just staying up by the skin of the teeth.
“And then this season, there’s been a few new additions, and they’ve done reasonably well. I feel that Villa possibly just overachieved a little bit this season if I’m being quite honest.”
The ex-Villa player also added:
“I think Dean’s done a fabulous job, I really do. I still think he can take us further on. I don’t feel that people should jump on the bandwagon of, you know, ‘he’s taken us as far [as he can]’ because I feel that he’s still got more to come.”
While Villa are certainly in a difficult period, sitting in 10th place and not that far off a Europa League spot, Smith has certainly done a good job overall this term.