Dean Smith says Aston Villa’s only obsession must be making top two or top six this season

Aston Villa resume league action on Sunday when rivals Birmingham City come visiting.

The Second City derby is bound to be a cracking affair given the bragging rights at stake, but manager Dean Smith wants his players to keep their cool all-game and only concentrate on playing football.

Villa are looking to secure three Championship victories in a row for the first time this season, and a win on Sunday will boost their confidence and push them towards the playoffs spots.

Nevertheless, Smith doesn’t want his side to be obsessed with beating Birmingham, but to be rather obsessed with securing Premier League promotion come May.

“Performance and emotional control. That will be very important – not losing discipline individually and collectively. Know the game plan, follow it and keep calm,” the manager explained what he wants from his players on Sunday to the club’s official website.

“We can’t be obsessed with beating Birmingham City, we have to be obsessed with winning every game.

“Our obsession is making the top two this season, and if we can’t do that, the top six.”

Villa are currently sat in 11th place after six wins, six draws and five losses, while Birmingham are just a place below them with same 24 points accrued from their opening 17 games of the campaign.

After missing out on EPL promotion last season despite reaching the finals, the Villans need to aim much higher than finishing in top six.

Finishing in at least second place should be the target and with just seven points currently between them and the automatic promotion places, it remains a very feasible target going forward.

A win on Sunday could just get Villa fired up, and a great match no doubt awaits us.

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