Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow has been sent a strong message over the future of Dean Smith amid claims the club were considering sacking the Villans manager.
The Midlands outfit have endured an indifferent start to the season with four points taken from a possible 12. A defeat at Watford on the opening day was followed by a win over Newcastle, a draw with Brentford and then a loss at Chelsea.
Villa could consider themselves unfortunate to be on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline at Stamford Bridge. Smith’s side performed well against Thomas Tuchel’s side and but for the brilliance of Edouard Mendy, might have had some joy.
Indeed, after the game, Smith admitted he had been happy with his players’ performance.
“Some of our football was excellent but the second goal killed the game. It felt unjust at the end. That second goal was the killer,” he said.
“I’m frustrated with the scoreline. I felt three goals was unjust. I feel that with the squad that we have available to me, we no longer have to have a deep block and look to counter attack like we did when we first got promoted.”
That defeat leaves Villa in 12th place. But as per a report on Tuesday, Smith is under massive pressure to improve on last season’s 11th-placed finish.
That stated that owners Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris are hugely ambitious and were disappointed by last season’s bottom-half finish. Furthermore, it’s stated that Smith’s relationship with chief executive Purslow is ‘not a strong one’.
However, pundit Kevin Campbell has told Purslow to think carefully before parting ways with Smith.
“Smith needs to be given a bit of leeway,” he told Football Insider.
“There has been massive change at Villa this summer. They have brought in a lot of new players but their main guy, Jack Grealish, has been sold.
“You might think, ‘We should be better all round.” But it doesn’t always work that way. He was such an important part of that team. He was the maverick who opened a lot of doors.
“At the moment we have seen a mixed bag from them and I think that is because the balance of the team ain’t right. The players are finding their feet a bit.
“They need to find their feet quickly because you do not want to fall behind in the league. I’m sure Villa will be just fine though. It would be massive to sack Smith but he needs time.”
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Date set on Dean Smith sack
As per Wednesday’s report, a run of bad results leading up to the international break could see Smith and Villa part ways.
They face Everton at home this weekend, before returning to Chelsea in the EFL Cup third round.
Following that is a daunting trip to Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Manchester United.
And their final game before the next international break is a trip to face Tottenham at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 3.
The failure to improve on their current standing could see Smith chopped before Villa’s first game after the international break.
And finally, the report claims Villa’s hierarchy will not hesitate in their search for a new manager if there is not an immediate improvement to results.