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Long dog walks help Dean Smith deal with life as Aston Villa manager

Arsenal v Aston Villa – Premier League – Emirates Stadium
(Image credit: Richard Heathcote)

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has revealed walking his dog Charlie helps him deal with the stress of the Premier League.

Villa go to West Ham on Monday aiming to maintain their 100 per cent away record in the top flight and hit back from a 2-1 home reverse to Brighton.

Smith saved Villa from relegation on the final day of the season and believes his strolls with his dog Charlie prepare him for the top flight pressure.

He said: “I’ve got a working cocker spaniel so he needs some exercise. We go out and it just gives me the opportunity to plan, plan the day, the week and the month.

“It gives me a little bit of clarity sometimes and when I get home, win, lose or draw he is there wagging his tail.

“He’s 10 years old and he’s getting older but we go out for an hour a day for four or five miles, I’ve got a big park close to me.”

Last week’s defeat to Brighton was Smith’s 500th game as a manager while Hammers boss David Moyes is 47 shy of 1,000 career matches.

The pair beat the drop last season but both headed into the weekend sat in the top 10.

Smith said: “You earn time in terms of what you do. If what you’re doing day in, day out, is not good enough for the people above you your time is up.

“You earn time by doing the right things and it’s important to acknowledge that. That’s why you have longevity in the role.

“You look at David and what he has done in the game, Preston, Everton, Manchester United. He’s gone abroad as well and it’s testament to him earning time with the qualities he has.

“I think at times people talk about British managers being underappreciated. Personally I don’t really care. I just get on with my job to do the best for Aston Villa and make sure we are one of the top clubs in the country.

“That’s what my drive is every day, not whether I’m English, Scottish, Irish, Dutch or German. It doesn’t matter to me. We’re employed by people to get the best out of a group of players and I’ll continue to do that.”