Aston Villa boss Dean Smith took home the Premier League Manager of the Month award for December in recognition of his squad’s mind-blowing form to close the calendar year.
Having started the season exceptionally well, Villa recovered from a poor run of results in November to remain unbeaten in December and move up the Premier League table.
Villa started her December schedule late due to a postponement against Newcastle, but was victorious in a West Midlands derby against Wolves at Molineux.
After a draw against Burnley, Villa again claimed the locals’ bragging rights in their last game before Christmas by beating West Brom thanks to a brace from Anwar El Ghazi, who was nominated for the Player of the Year award. months, and one by Bertrand Traoré.
Boxing Day produced another 3-0 victory for Smith’s side, this time over Crystal Palace – despite being reduced to ten men for much of the game. El Ghazi and Traore were on the scoresheet again, joined by Kortney Hause.
Villa ended December frustrating Chelsea in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
“At the start of December we were still pretty confident, but I guess the Wolves game was pretty crucial. If we had lost this game we could have lost a lot of confidence but we got the win and that helped keep the conviction we had in the dressing room, ”Smith told the Premier League website.
“The highlight for me was Boxing Day. We played at the Palace at home, went down to ten men but still won comfortably and could have scored more – it was an outstanding performance. ”
Smith is the first Villa Manager to win the Individual Award in more than ten years, Martin O’Neill having last won one in April 2010. O’Neill won four awards in total during his time at Villa Park, while John Gregory and Brian Little are the other Villa bosses to win them over.
Smith is also only the fourth Englishman to win the Manager of the Month title since the start of the 2018/19 season after Eddie Howe, Frank Lampard and Sean Dyche each won once.
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