Dean Smith: Norwich appoint former Aston Villa manager as Daniel Farke replacement

The former Aston Villa is straight back into management at Carrow Road, where he faces a tough task to guide the Canaries to safety in the Premier League

Jack Rathborn
Monday 15 November 2021 17:58
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<p>‘I was really impressed with the idea, structure and vision that is already in place at the club’ </p>

‘I was really impressed with the idea, structure and vision that is already in place at the club’

Norwich have appointed Dean Smith as their new manager to replace Daniel Farke, only a week after Smith himself was sacked by Aston Villa.

Smith takes over at Carrow Road with the club five points from safety and bottom of the Premier League on just five points. His first game in charge comes next Saturday at home to Southampton – the same club he faced and was beaten by in his final match with Villa.

Norwich sacked Farke last weekend, despite securing the club’s first win of the season at Brentford, ending his four-year spell in Norfolk.

Upon his appointment, Smith reflected on how quickly the new opportunity had come around and emphasised that he wanted to build on the platform already in place.

“It has been a whirlwind seven days, but I’m really pleased to be back and working for Norwich City in the Premier League,” he said.

“Clearly, there has been some wonderful work that has gone into this football club over the last four and a half years.

“It is now the job of myself and Craig [Shakespeare, his assistant at Villa Park] to continue and improve on that work with the ultimate aim of surviving in the Premier League.”

The scope of Smith’s task is made clear by Norwich’s win at Brentford being their first in 20 top-flight matches, dating back to just before the pandemic shutdown – they failed to take another point in their remaining nine games before being relegated in 2019-20, before taking two points from their first 10 fixtures this term following promotion.

Even so, Smith will be optimistic of surviving the drop, drawing on his experience of helping Villa avoid relegation by a single point in the same 19-20 campaign.

“I’ve always worked to improve and develop players – with that obviously comes improved performances. I was really impressed with the idea, structure and vision that is already in place at the club,” he added.

Sporting director Stuart Webber said he had admired Smith’s work from afar and retained him as a “long-term target in the event we needed to appoint a new head coach”.

“Dean has an outstanding track record and as soon as he made it clear that he was ready to go straight back into a managerial role we contacted him immediately,” he said.

“He shares the same values and vision as the club, has a proven track record of winning games in the Premier League as well as developing players and building a winning culture and mentality.

“There are huge challenges ahead, but we are excited and determined to see how far we can continue to grow as a club on and off the pitch.”

Norwich have scored just five times in the league this season and conceded 26, with both tallies the worst in the division so far. Following Smith’s first game against Saints, the Canaries also face Wolves and 19th-placed Newcastle before the end of November.

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