Aston Villa

Aston Villa fully behind under pressure Dean Smith

Toby Cudworth
Dean Smith has the backing of Villa's board
Dean Smith has the backing of Villa's board / Visionhaus/Getty Images
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Aston Villa remain fully behind manager Dean Smith, despite a run of four successive Premier League defeats, 90min understands.

Villa were humbled 4-1 at home by high-flying West Ham on Sunday - as goals from Ben Johnson, Declan Rice, Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen cemented the visitors' place in the Premier League's top four - and that defeat followed a pretty abject display at Arsenal the previous Friday having already thrown away a two-goal lead against rivals Wolves the week before.

The continued good form of David Moyes' West Ham and their general progress over the past 12 to 18 months is exactly what Villa fans want to see from their club, particularly as they have invested heavily in new players over that same period.

But despite spending over £175m since the 2019/20 close season - including healthy sums on the likes of Ollie Watkins, Emi Martinez, Danny Ings, Leon Bailey and Emi Buendia - the Villans have struggled for consistency, and currently sit just three points clear of the bottom three after ten Premier League outings.

Indeed, they have lost six of those ten games, and have conceded three or more goals on five separate occasions - leaking 19 overall.

Admittedly, Villa have been adjusting to life without talisman Jack Grealish, after he sealed a British record £100m move to Manchester City during the summer, and that's one factor that has perhaps led the club's hierarchy to the conclusion that Smith is still the right man - for now.

90min understands that Villa's board remain fully behind the 50-year-old, and he will be given the opportunity, despite mounting supporter unrest, to turn the tide in the upcoming games with Southampton, Brighton and Crystal Palace.

That said, if performances don't improve, Smith will be looking over his shoulder amid speculation linking former Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca to Villa. He has recently been interviewed for the vacant Newcastle job, and was also previously linked with taking charge of Tottenham.

There's been no official word from Fonseca's camp about the links to Villa, although the likelihood of him landing the Newcastle role appears to be diminishing by the day - former Arsenal boss Unai Emery is now the favourite to succeed Steve Bruce.

As for Smith, he's been in charge of Aston Villa for just over three years, leading the club to promotion from the Championship in his first campaign. A 17th place finish followed in the club's first season back in the top flight, before a marked improvement saw Villa finish just outside the Premier League's top ten in 2020/21.

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