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They’ll come out fighting – Dean Smith wary of Tottenham backlash at Aston Villa

Villa host wounded Spurs on Sunday and sit four points behind them in the Premier League.


Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is wary of Tottenham (Lindsey Parnaby/PA)

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is wary of Tottenham (Lindsey Parnaby/PA)

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is wary of Tottenham (Lindsey Parnaby/PA)

Dean Smith has warned Aston Villa to beware a Tottenham backlash.

Villa host Spurs on Sunday after Jose Mourinho’s side crashed out of the Europa League.

They lost their last-16 second-leg tie 3-0 at Dinamo Zagreb after extra time to exit the competition 3-2 on aggregate.

It ramped up the pressure on Jose Mourinho, with eighth-placed Spurs now playing catch-up in the race for the Champions League, but boss Smith is wary of a response on Sunday.

He said: “The result for us is probably the wrong thing because I can expect Jose Mourinho to get a backlash from his players and for them to come out fighting at Villa Park.

“We have to make sure that we concentrate on ourselves rather than Tottenham.

“It’s a squad that is littered with very good players, none more so than Harry Kane. We have to be at our best to get anything out of this game.

“The thing that helps us more than anything is the fact that their game went to extra time.”

Victory for Villa will move them a point behind Spurs in the Premier League and keep their own European hopes alive.

Tottenham’s season is close to collapsing, with Mourinho and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris criticising the squad’s attitude after defeat on Thursday – the French goalkeeper also hinted at divisions in the dressing room.

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But Smith insists Mourinho will emerge from the trouble at Spurs still standing.

“I look at him in awe in terms of what he has achieved already. They won five and lost two and all of a sudden it’s a crisis,” said the manager, who will make a late call over the fitness of skipper Jack Grealish.

“He has been in these situations before and he will come out of it as well as he has done before.

“We can’t control what Tottenham do, we can only control ourselves and that’s what I’ll be stressing to the players.

“If there is any chink (in the armour) we have to take advantage of it.”

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