Dean Smith says work has begun to bring Norwich back to the Premier League


Norwich Manager Dean Smith has insisted planning is well under way for a round at next season’s championship title race First League Relegation was confirmed by a defeat AstonVilla on Saturday.

The Canary Islands’ 2-0 defeat coupled with Burnley’s 2-1 win from behind Watfordcondemned Norwich to relegation for the third time after just one season in the top flight.

In the last three seasons, Norwich have finished first in the Championship twice and bottom in the Premier League once, with another 20th place quite possible as they are a point behind Watford in 19th place.

Despite disappointment at Smith’s return to Villa Park, there was no big surprise and the 51-year-old said the club have been planning either survival or relegation since the turn of the year.

“Part of the reason for coming here was for both of them: to try to keep us in the league, but also if we go down I know the Championship and have gotten a team out of there before,” Smith told Villa brought up about the 2019 playoffs.

The summer will give Smith a chance to make his own mark on the Norwich squad, although he will hope to retain a core of players who have already shown they are good enough to move up.

“I’m looking forward to it, but I was also looking forward to working with these players,” he said. “That’s why I feel responsible that we haven’t improved enough to stay in the league.

“There is certainly a lot to do. There are some really good players at this football club who can get better, they just found it a bit difficult to get into the Premier League.

“We know they are more than capable of playing at a championship level.”

Smith took over at Norwich in November. The Canaries started the season with just two points from 10 games and although they won their 11th game against Brentford it was Daniel Farke’s last game in charge.

From there, surviving always looked like a long shot, and while he couldn’t make it, Smith said he felt his side had improved on his watch.

“I think we knew when we came back to the Premier League and had just two points after ten games it was going to be difficult to stay up there,” he said.

“There were moments when I felt like we could have been better. You have to win the games against the teams in and around you, losing at home to Brentford and losing to Leeds in quick succession was a big disappointment.

“Like most teams you don’t get much out of Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea so again it looks like a one-sided Premier League with the top three getting a scary amount of points…

“I think we’ve made progress, but not as fast as I would have liked.”

“We must strive to win the league again, as we have done in the Championship for the last two seasons. If we do that, hopefully we can use the lessons of this season to do better.” Dean Smith says work has begun to bring Norwich back to the Premier League


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