Dean Smith says he wants Aston Villa beating the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool

Aston Villa secured promotion back to the English Premier League after handing Derby County a 2-1 win in the Championship play-off final on Monday.

The Villans were stuck in the Championship since relegating three years ago, and were close to promotion last summer, only to lose the playoff final to Fulham.

Villa are back in the big time now, and manager Dean Smith is aiming higher than just fighting for top-flight survival.

Having seen last season’s Championship winners Wolverhampton Wanderers finish the 2018-19 Premier League season in seventh place and hold their own against the big boys, Smith wants to emulate them.

Liverpool and Manchester City are the best teams in the land right now, but the Aston Villa boss is aiming to go to the Etihad Stadium and Anfield and leave with all three points on each visit.

“People might laugh at me, but when we come up against the likes of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, I want to try and win those games,” he said in an interview on the club’s official YouTube channel.

“That’s how we will approach it.”

City pipped Liverpool to the title with just a point after a fierce battle between the two heavyweights all season long.

Third-placed Chelsea finished 25 points behind Klopp’s men, underlining the huge gulf between the duo and the rest, and beating them both will be a tough task as the other 18 teams found out.

Liverpool lost just once – to City – while City’s four losses weren’t enough to stop them from winning the title.

Villa are expected to invest heavily in the summer transfer window and hold on to their key players for next season, and all eyes will be on them as they look to establish themselves in the top-flight all over again.

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