Dean Smith warns Aston Villa stars to expect Jose Mourinho’s under-fire Tottenham side to ‘come out fighting’ on Sunday following their shock Europa League exit to Dinamo Zagreb
- Dean Smith has warned his Aston Villa side to be wary of a determined Spurs
- The north Londoners crashed out of Europe after a humiliating loss in Zagreb
- Pressure is on boss Jose Mourinho after dismal displays in back-to-back defeats
- Smith has told Villa to expect a backlash from Mourinho’s under-fire side
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.
Dean Smith expects a Tottenham ‘backlash’ when they meet in the Premier League on Sunday
The north Londoners crashed out of Europe after suffering a humiliating defeat to Zagreb
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.
Thursday’s defeat piles pressure on under-fire boss Jose Mourinho with Spurs chiefs expecting the side to finish in the top four come the end of the season
‘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.
But Smith insists Mourinho will emerge from the trouble at Spurs still standing.
Smith says he expects Tottenham to ‘come out fighting’ when they meet at Villa Park
Villa are looking to get their European push back on track and are winless in three games
‘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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