Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has launched a charm offensive ahead of facing West Ham United and their manager Manuel Pellegrini this evening.
West Ham travel to Villa Park knowing victory will take them up to third in the fledgling table.
The Hammers have been backed to challenge the top six this season.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United FC via Getty Images

Smith goes on Pellegrini charm offensive

But newly-promoted Aston Villa will provide a stern test of those credentials, particularly on their own patch and under the lights.
In the build-up to the game Villa boss Dean Smith has been waxing lyrical about West Ham’s Chilean tactician Pellegrini (Express & Star).
 
Some might think Smith is playing the game.
But West Ham star Angelo Ogbonna agrees with his words of praise if his own interview with The Mirror at the weekend is anything to go by.
Here’s what the pair have had to say about Pellegrini.

“For me, Manuel is a top coach,” Smith said, as reported by the Express & Star.

Photo by Jordan Mansfield Getty Images

‘Suso has told me a number of tales about Hammers boss’

“I remember going to listen to him at the Football Museum in Manchester a couple of years back. He is one who has done 1,000 games as a manager and was giving a talk on that.

“He’s a student of the game and a Premier League champion. He’s been involved in a lot of big games, such as River Plate versus Boca Juniors.

“Everyone can see the job he has done. Our sporting director Suso has told me a number of tales about what a good person he is.

“Everyone can see the job he has done at West Ham. He turned them into a top 10 team last season. His signings and recruitment have been very astute. He’s brought in some very good players.”

Ogbonna credits Pellegrini with the huge turnaround at West Ham in the last year. From a club where relations between the board and fans was at rock bottom to a team with ambition, style and most importantly, substance.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United FC via Getty Images

Ogbonna feels the same

“He changed a lot of things in the training ground,” Ogbonna told The Mirror.

“We now have everything we need as football players… We are blessed because we not only have good players but good people.

“It will be a tough game (against Aston Villa). A game for us to see how far we have come.”

Smith has done an excellent job himself at Villa so far.

But let’s hope it is a case of flattery gets you nowhere for Smith and his team tonight.

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