Gabby Agbonlahor has told TalkSPORT on Tuesday that Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa is getting too much praise and if the Argentine is being applauded – then the “red carpet” needs to be rolled out for Aston Villa boss Dean Smith.
Leeds gained promotion to the Premier League last season after finishing on top of the Championship table. It saw Marcelo Bielsa finally end a 16-year wait for top-tier football, and the Whites have secured seven points from their first five games.
That is, despite facing Liverpool and Manchester City. Aston Villa, though, have gone one better. Some excellent work in the transfer window has seen the Midlands side win all four of their league games – including a 7-2 win over Liverpool.
Villa have also kept three clean sheets in the other matches, which include wins over Sheffield United, Leicester and Fulham. Agbonlahor thinks that if £40,000-a-week (Sun) Bielsa deserves the praise he is getting, then Smith deserves even more.
“I watched Leeds last night and this season, they’re a team of hard-workers – they’re probably the fittest team in the league,” Agbonlahor said. “They lack a bit on the wings and up front. If you work as hard as Leeds, you’ll beat them.
“Everybody is getting excited by Bielsa. But if you’re getting excited by Bielsa, surely we need to be putting the red carpet down for Smith? Maybe it is because he’s English. He deserved credit, maybe we need to calm down on Leeds United.”
TBR’s view – Is Smith outperforming Bielsa?
Or are other factors at play? There is no doubt that Villa are enjoying the rewards of deciding to give Smith control in the transfer market. Emi Martinez, Ollie Watkins, Ross Barkley and Matty Cash are all shining in Villa’s starting line-up.
Smith has benefitted from the financial rewards of an extra season in the top flight. But certainly, his work in the window deserves enormous praise. Bielsa’s Leeds are still adapting in their first season. They are difficult to compare.