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Portuguese reports claim Aston Villa close to replacing Dean Smith

(Photo by ANDY RAIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Aston Villa

Portuguese reports claim Aston Villa close to replacing Dean Smith

Portuguese website O Jogo have claimed that Aston Villa are close to replacing manager Dean Smith despite the club avoiding relegation from the Premier League – with former Benfica man Bruno Lage.

Smith’s Villa secured a well-earned point against West Ham on Sunday afternoon – with the Midlands side picking up the all-important point after a 1-1 draw. It saw Bournemouth and Watford relegated, along with Norwich.

Jack Grealish’s 84th-minute opener was quickly cancelled out by Andriy Yarmolenko, but that did not stop the Villans from celebrating. However, Smith may find himself out of a job despite an excellent end to the season.

 

Lage, 44, is well regarded in Portugal – having won 51 of his 76 Benfica matches in charge before leaving last month. He does have experience in England, having worked as an assistant at Swansea and Sheffield Wednesday – under Carlos Carvalhal.

The report claims Villa are close to confirming Smith’s departure and Lage as his replacement – though it remains to be seen if the claims from Portugal are true.

 (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

TBR’s view – Ridiculously harsh, though Lage is a top manager

Smith deserves plenty of praise for rallying the troops and guiding a Villa side that at one point looked beleaguered, and doomed to return to the Championship after just one season. But a win over Arsenal all but saved them.

Lage, meanwhile, is an excellent manager. He is renowned for his faith in youth and his attacking style of play – with Benfica scoring a whopping 181 goals in his 76 matches. Harsh on Smith, but Lage is a promising boss.

(Photo by CARLOS COSTA/AFP via Getty Images)

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