Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith has offered his verdict on West Bromwich Albion’s sacking of Slaven Bilic and subsequent appointment of Sam Allardyce.
Bilic was dismissed by Albion on Wednesday after a 1-1 draw with Manchester City, a result that leaves them in 19th place with seven points from 13 games of the 2020-21 season.
Because Burnley avoided defeat at Villa on Thursday night, the gap to safety has now widened to three points.
Albion’s run of form that saw only four points from a possible 21 picked up since late October has forced The Hawthorns hierarchy to act and in comes survival specialist Allardyce.
His first task will be getting three points from Villa on Sunday night, with Smith ‘s side drawing a blank against Burnley in a goalless draw with Sean Dyche’s men at Villa Park.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Smith told Amazon Prime after the Burnley game.
“First and foremost I am disappointed for Slaven Bilic who had done a fantastic job getting them promoted last season.
“He’s a very likeable man as well and it’s disappointing for him.
“When somebody goes, a new man comes in and Big Sam has seen everything in the game hasn’t he?
“So I’m looking forward to the match.”
On the nature of Bilic’s sacking, Smith added: “I think we know in the role that we’re in that it’s a results-based industry and there is every chance that one of us could lose our job.
“So that’s why we are all battling so hard.”
Villa have a secret weapon in their arsenal: Craig Shakespeare.
One of Smith’s assistants, Shakespeare was on Allardyce’s backroom staff at his most recent club Everton.
“He’s going into (a team whose) players who aren’t his, we know an awful lot about West Brom,” Smith continued.
“But I’ve also got Craig with me who has worked with Sam at Everton and with England so I am sure we will get some snippets from him.”