John Terry remains committed to Aston Villa despite being linked with the vacancy at Bristol City, according to Dean Smith.

Former Chelsea and England defender Terry finished his playing career at Villa before returning to the club to take up the role as Smith's assistant in October 2018.

The duo steered Villa to the Premier League via the play-offs, beating Derby County in the final, but face a fight to avoid a quick return to the second tier, sitting inside the relegation zone with two games to play.

Terry has been talked up as a candidate to take charge at Championship side Bristol City, who parted company with Lee Johnson earlier in July, but Smith remains calm amid the speculation.

"I answered this a couple of weeks ago," the Villa boss told the media, per Sky Sports.

"I spoke to JT about the Bristol City link and he said no. He's fully focused on the job here. We've got a good working relationship – and a good relationship away from work as well.  

"He's fully focused on Aston Villa and we really enjoy working together."

Villa are 18th in the table - three points behind nearest rivals Watford - ahead of Tuesday's home game against FA Cup finalists Arsenal.

Manchester United have weaknesses that Aston Villa will look to exploit in Thursday's Premier League clash, according to Dean Smith.

The Villa boss feels Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's in-form side, who are chasing a top-four finish, showed some vulnerability even in dismantling Bournemouth 5-2 last time out.

That was United's third Premier League win in a row, a run during which they have scored 11 times, but Smith is feeling confident after seeing his team produce an encouraging display in Sunday's 2-0 loss to champions Liverpool.

Speaking about the challenge of taking on United at Villa Park, Smith identified Bruno Fernandes as a key threat, but cited deficiencies the hosts could target.

"They are a very good team, they have improved," said Smith. "Fernandes is playing very well, they have pace and power up front.

"But they have conceded a couple of goals against Bournemouth. You can see weaknesses in any team.

"We felt there were weaknesses to exploit against Liverpool. So that's our job as coaches to analyse weaknesses, try and exploit them and stifle their strengths as well.

"There is a lot of heart we can take from our performance against Liverpool. We will need that sort of performance again but be better in the final third."

In contrast to United's fine form, Villa have not won in nine top-flight outings, leaving them four points from safety with a game in hand over Watford in 17th.

However, Smith believes his side have shown improvements since action resumed following the coronavirus-enforced shutdown.

"Our form in terms of performance levels has been much better since the restart," he said.

"We haven't got the points tally we feel we deserve and probably lack a bit in the final third.

"There's certainly points we have left out there and we should be in a much healthier position.

"The only way we can put that right is on the training ground and in the last five games."

Dean Smith took scant consolation from pushing Premier League champions Liverpool close after Aston Villa fell to a 2-0 defeat, insisting he had no love for the "valiant loser" tag.

The Villa boss set his side up to defend at Anfield and the visitors did frustrate the home side until Sadio Mane's 71st-minute opener.

Curtis Jones doubled the Reds' lead late on as Villa's winless run in the league was extended to nine games on Sunday.

Smith noted that his side had more shots than Jurgen Klopp's men, who lost their previous game 4-0 to Manchester City, but still the overwhelming feeling was one of disappointment.

"I don't want to be a valiant loser, we're scrapping for points," Smith told Sky Sports.

"To out-shoot Liverpool at home at Anfield, in terms of efforts on goal, it's excellent – but we need to take our opportunities. We never found the quality in the final third, they did.

"Was it the best time to come to Anfield? Jurgen Klopp teams don't take their foot off the gas, I don't thank him for bringing the three subs on, that strengthened them but we were in the game the whole way through.

"Unfortunately they beat our press with their quality in the end."

Next up for Villa is Thursday's visit of a buoyant Manchester United, who put five past Bournemouth on Saturday.

With his side still occupying the relegation zone, Smith knows the route to safety will be a difficult one.

"It's a tough task but we're still in it that's for sure," he said. "Our performances since the restart haven't got the results they deserved. We have got to make the most of our chances.

"We need to keep the belief in the dressing room, it's some achievement to come here and play as we did but we have to maintain the belief. I thought we more than matched them."

Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith's father Ron has died after contracting coronavirus, the Premier League club have confirmed.

Ron, like Dean, was a lifelong Villa supporter and previously worked as a steward at Villa Park.

He had been in hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, having spent the past six years in a care home after being diagnosed with dementia.

A club statement read: "The Aston Villa family are saddened to announce that Ron Smith, the father of our current head coach Dean, has passed away at the age of 79.

"Ron, who had recently been living in a care home after being diagnosed with dementia six years ago, contracted coronavirus four weeks ago and, after a short spell in hospital, passed away with his family at his side."

Villa added: "The thoughts of everyone at the football club are currently with Dean and his family at this most distressing of times and would kindly ask for the family's privacy to be respected."

Dean Smith says Aston Villa could be without two players if the Premier League season is able to resume.

Football remains suspended in England amid the coronavirus pandemic, although the Premier League has been looking at ways to get back playing as part of plans they have termed "Project Restart".

Matches played behind closed doors and possibly at neutral venues have been discussed with some reports suggesting games could begin again by June 12.

Villa boss Smith discussed the complications around resuming on Sky Sports' 'The Football Show', explaining one player in his squad is asthmatic and another has a vulnerable family member living at his home.

"Everybody wants to get back into training but they also want to see what the medical protocols are first," he said. 

"There's a certain risk attached to the return to training for all players and I think they want to make sure they tick the boxes so it's safe to do so.

"We've got a player who is asthmatic, we've got a player whose mother-in-law is in remission and living with the family. You have to be very careful, certainly the transmission knows no boundaries.

"From what I'm told, we have to be led by the government at the moment. There's a lot of hypothetical questions out there at the moment but until we get the guidance from the government about how they want to move forward out of this lockdown there are a lot more questions than there are answers at this moment.

"The players' health and safety is paramount and if they're not comfortable to return then you have to return without them, when it's safe to do so. 

"We have to listen to our players, we have to listen to their concerns. If the protocols say we can move forward then the ones who can do will do so."

Villa were 19th in the table, two points from safety but with a game in hand prior to the suspension of the league.

Dean Smith "will be a very proud man" when he leads Aston Villa out at Wembley after they dramatically beat Leicester City 2-1 to earn a place in the EFL Cup final.

The game at Villa Park looked destined for extra time after Kelechi Iheanacho cancelled out Matt Targett's opener to make it 1-1 on Tuesday and 2-2 on aggregate.

However, Trezeguet steered home a right-wing cross from Ahmed El Mohamady on the volley in stoppage time to spark scenes of jubilation, with fans invading the pitch following the final whistle.

Villa, who last won the trophy in 1996 and were runners-up in 2010, are likely to face Manchester City in the showpiece, with Pep Guardiola's side holding a 3-1 aggregate lead over Manchester United ahead of the second leg at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

"I certainly let myself go with the goal. That deep onto stoppage time, there was a bit of emotion from everybody when that goal went in and the place erupted," Smith told Sky Sports.

"To go and get the win at the death like we did there – we had it last week against Watford in the last minute and we've had it again today.

"But to be taking this club to Wembley, we've got a great history and a proud history in this competition, and I'll be a very proud man leading them out at Wembley."

With Pepe Reina missing out due to a tight calf, goalkeeper Orjan Nyland featured for the first time since conceding six against City on January 12, making five saves across the 90 minutes.

"Our goalkeeper made three great saves early, two low down and one tipped onto the crossbar," said Smith. "But I thought we were aggressive as well and it was a good game of football with both teams trying to win it.

"We certainly are [making a habit of late wins] and it's certainly a good time to score, because you can see from the eruption in the stadium that they know it's very difficult to get back in it.

"I'm proud because the players were aggressive, had chances and created chances and made it a really tight game."

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers felt his team deserved to win and was disappointed they did not get a first-half penalty when James Maddison's shot struck Marvelous Nakamba's arm.

"I thought we were excellent in the game. Their goalkeeper made some outstanding saves. We played with a nice control and composure in the game, created opportunities," Rodgers told Sky Sports.

"I thought we had a clear handball, it looked a definite penalty, so I'm just gutted for my players because they put so much into the game. Especially coming from behind, playing with that composure and scoring a very good goal.

"By the end of the game I thought there was only one team looked like they were going to win it, but we switch off from the cross and the guy gets in at the back post and scores it.

"It's tough to take looking back over the two games but congratulations to Aston Villa, they go through and we have to move on."

Brendan Rodgers paid tribute to Hamza Choudhury's second-half display in Leicester City's EFL Cup semi-final first-leg draw with Aston Villa, suggesting the midfielder gave the Foxes back their "identity".

​Leicester had been well on top in the first half at the King Power Stadium, but they trailed despite their dominance following Frederic Guilbert's 28th-minute opener.

It looked as though Villa were going to hang on, as Leicester struggled to create chances after the break and visiting goalkeeper Orjan Nyland enjoyed an impressive performance.

Kelechi Iheanacho eventually scored the equaliser 16 minutes from time, but it was Choudhury – who robbed Douglas Luiz in the build-up to the leveller – earning Rodgers' praise.

The midfielder was introduced at half-time to add much-needed steel after Wilfred Ndidi had been ruled out through injury on Tuesday, and Rodgers accepted he should have started the Leicester academy product.

"We dominated the game but we were passive in the first half, played too slow. It was all a bit slow," Rodgers told Sky Sports. "We didn't press the game enough.

"The goal we conceded, we have to be stronger, but we stayed calm and sped up the game, made more runs off the ball. Second half we were very good, they made some great blocks to stop us winning the game. Credit to them, they made it very difficult.

"Hamza Choudhury made a huge difference, it's my fault that I didn't start him. We could see that we needed him and he gave us our identity back.

"Wilfred Ndidi is so good for us, he's colossal, and we were too slow and not aggressive without him or Hamza."

Rodgers' counterpart Dean Smith feels the second-leg is tantalisingly poised, though he was frustrated by Villa's performance despite having the lead for a large chunk of the match.

"It should be a good second leg, all square and a boisterous crowd, a full house," he added. "But it wasn't the performance I wanted. Leicester were the better team, but we defended well at times.

"We have to be honest, they created chances as well. We were loose on the ball and we've got to do better. I'm certainly content with a draw, just not the performance.

"We gave away a farcical goal. Ezri Konsa has got brain dazzled. It's a disappointing goal, but it sums up some of our performance on the night."

The two sides will meet again for the second leg at Villa Park on January 28.

Jack Grealish will not be leaving Aston Villa in the January transfer window, manager Dean Smith vowed on Friday as he issued a hands-off warning to the Premier League big guns.

The 24-year-old, who has shone for Villa since their return to the top division, has been linked with clubs including Manchester United.

However, Villa are determined Grealish will remain a key player for them, with Smith saying they will not entertain bids for the Birmingham-born midfielder.

"I think he's a big target for many teams and you can see why," said Smith, whose side head to Fulham in the FA Cup on Saturday.

"He's a top player but as I've said before, our owners are very ambitious and want to establish us as a top Premier League club.

"To do that you have to keep your best players, so we'll be keeping hold of Jack Grealish. People can keep looking but they can't touch."

Villa have lost striker Wesley and goalkeeper Tom Heaton to season-ending knee injuries, which is set to influence the club's transfer activity this month.

Smith said he would hold talks with sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch and chief executive Christian Purslow ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage. 

"It will probably hasten what we do in the market," Smith said. "I’ll sit down with them and see what we’re going to do and how quickly we’re going to do it."

Frank Lampard said it was important that John Terry was able to "have a moment" with the home supporters before Chelsea ran out 2-1 winners over Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.

Terry, now on the coaching staff at Villa, returned to his old club on Wednesday, though goals from Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount saw the Blues collect all three points.

The former England international won five Premier League titles with Chelsea after coming through their academy.

Having experienced Stamford Bridge from the opposition bench with Derby County last season, Lampard fully understood the situation for Terry: "I've been there myself, coming back here last year. It's a strange feeling.

"You want to do your job and do it as well as you can as a professional, but the feeling you have for the club and the people you see and the crowd, which I know how John feels about them and vice versa, is a big deal.

"It's actually not easy in a way, and I'm pleased John got it out of his system, had his moment there and the fans gave him his proper applause, as was expected, before and after the game.

"I think John was very humble about it, didn't want to make a big deal, but the fans obviously love him here, the club does. He's a legend, the most decorated captain, one of the greatest players, everyone knows his story, so it was important that he got that."

An injured Abraham was replaced seven minutes from the end after making his comeback from a hip issue, but Lampard played down the severity of the problem as he praised the 22-year-old.

In a season-long loan at Villa last term, Abraham scored 26 league goals to help the club achieve promotion to the Premier League and he has netted 11 times in 14 top-flight appearances for Chelsea.

Asked about his injury, Lampard replied: "It doesn't seem too bad. Tammy at the moment is Tammy. A striker near the top, showing his all-round game. A personality in the dressing room."

Villa boss Dean Smith said he was disappointed with the goals his side conceded, while expressing concern about the treatment Jack Grealish is receiving from Premier League defenders.

Asked whether there is a risk heavy challenges could jeopardise the midfielder's fitness, Smith told reporters: "If he doesn't get protection, then yes.

"You can't have tag teams having a free whack at him. The officials need to sort that out."

Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith has signed a new four-year contract with the Premier League club.

The 48-year-old, who took charge in 2018, has now agreed terms that tie him to his boyhood club until 2023.

"I'm really happy to have committed my long-term future to the club," Smith told Villa's website.

"I'm looking forward to all the challenges that come with re-establishing Aston Villa as a top Premier League club."

Villa CEO Christian Purslow added: "The board is delighted that Dean has signed a new four-year contract which puts him at the heart of the club's long-term rebuilding plans."

Smith took charge of Villa in October last year and guided them to promotion back to the Premier League via a Championship play-off final win over Derby County.

With four wins from their first 13 top-flight games of the season, Villa are four points above the relegation zone in 15th place.

They take on Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Raheem Sterling capped a fine week of goalscoring with the opener as Manchester City returned to winning ways in the Premier League at Etihad Stadium, beating Aston Villa 3-0.

The England forward scored a hat-trick in City's midweek thrashing of Atalanta and plundered his seventh league goal of the season to help City see off in-form Villa, who matched the champions for 45 minutes.

Villa boss Dean Smith, taking charge of his boyhood club for the 50th time, might have picked up a result had it not been for the swagger with which Sterling is playing this season and he made no mistake when put through at close range just 20 seconds after the restart.

Kevin De Bruyne curled in a contentious second after 65 minutes, the suspicion of offside dismissed following a lengthy VAR review, and an Ilkay Gundogan strike killed Villa off before Fernandinho blotted a fine performance with a second yellow card.

John Stones allowed John McGinn to force a good one-handed save from Ederson, but City began to dominate possession and David Silva squandered a golden chance when he side-footed narrowly wide on the cusp of half-time.

The second half was 20 seconds old when Ederson's long, high ball forward was knocked down by Gabriel Jesus to Sterling, who slid the ball through Heaton's legs from six yards out.

Tyrone Mings turned a Jesus effort over the crossbar with his knee moments later to keep Villa in the contest until De Bruyne's cross-cum-shot bounced within a whisker of David Silva and Sterling, who was offside when the ball was kicked, before beating Heaton into the far corner of the net.

Buoyed by good fortune on the second, Pep Guardiola's men went for the jugular and bagged a third when Fernandinho and Bernardo Silva took turns at flashing the ball across the face of goal before Gundogan scissor-kicked home his first league goal of the season.

After picking up a yellow card for a foul on Jack Grealish, Fernandinho made a clumsy challenge on Keinan Davis and was sent off, souring an otherwise excellent afternoon for Guardiola who could do without defensive suspensions.

Mings made his second goal-line clearance of the day after Gabriel Jesus' chip hit the crossbar and Ederson made a fine save to deny Davis at the other end before John McGinn hit the post at the death.

What does it mean? All eyes on Anfield

The result moves City back to within three points of leaders Liverpool ahead of their clash with Tottenham on Sunday, and buries the memory of a shock home defeat to Wolves on October 6.

Sterling shows polish

It looked like one of those games when City could do everything but score until Sterling was presented with his first clear chance and showed just why he is one of the league's most feared forwards.

Mings lets Jesus in

Villa's plans for the second half were upended when Mings let Jesus win the header that put Sterling through for the opener, and there was no way back for the visitors.

What's next?

City play the first of their back-to-back games against Southampton when they meet in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, while Villa face a Black Country derby at home against Wolves in the same competition the next day.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.