Opposition view: Hopes remain high that Villa will impress despite slow start to Premier League return
- Credit: PA
Providing the opposition view ahead of Norwich City’s return to Carrow Road action is Aston Villa fan and blogger Damian Dugdale, who remains hopeful about his team’s Premier League prospects.
Villa may be in the relegation zone, but they seem to have been very competitive during the opening stages of the season?
It's still very early and we've got players still catching up with the pace of the Premier League. There is a learning curve that we are on and it's going to take a little longer. But the players we have are competitive, they're determined and they're all singing from the same hymn sheet. You've got to be very deluded to think these things happen overnight.
Were you happy with the summer transfer business, with so much money being spent?
It was a lot of money and a lot of new players, but a lot of players left so it was required. And sure, a couple of fairly expensive players, but for the most part we've got a team of determined young players that want to make an impact. It's good for us now and hopefully in the future.
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How popular is Dean Smith with Villa fans, after the promotion success? Is his job safe this season?
Dean Smith is very popular because he's one of our own and while I can't say for sure - the game is brutal these days - I'd like to believe that his job is safe. Too many managers are sacked these days when they've not been given enough time and I hope that Aston Villa is now in the hands of owners that understand the importance of this role and the importance of having a manager in place that the supporters are very fond of.
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Which players have impressed so far this season?
Few have shown signs of real promise. Jack Grealish and John McGinn look very special but others are making an impression too. Douglas Luiz, when he's played, looks very composed and Marvelous Nakamba is starting to find his feet and really settle in. Anwar El Ghazi is also starting to settle now, but it's still early and I expect others to come through too.
Have any players disappointed?
Not yet ... too early in the season.
Jack Grealish - how good is he? Could he play for England in the future?
Yes, no doubt. He seems to not only make space on the ball, but he creates time. Things seem to slow down around him. He's got to get just a little better first, but I have no doubt he'll be playing for England one day.
How wary are you of playing Norwich, given their last home game was a win over Manchester City?
They've certainly hit the ground running and that isn't great for us, but as your first question suggested, we do look good.
And finally, what is your score prediction?
I don't like doing this, so one side will score twice, the other once!