Smith: Norwich job not a risk; I believe we can stay up

New Norwich head coach Dean Smith “firmly believes” he can keep the Premier League’s bottom side up as he dismissed suggestions that taking the job is a risk.

Smith was appointed the new boss at Carrow Road on Monday, just eight days after being sacked by Aston Villa.

The 50-year-old takes charge of a Norwich side that are bottom of the Premier League, five points adrift of safety having recorded their first league win of the season at Brentford prior to the international break.

Smith replaces Daniel Farke, who was sacked just hours after the victory in west London on November 6, and the Englishman is confident he can build on that win and save the Canaries from relegation.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith (left) and Norwich City manager Daniel Farke (right). Norwich have announced the appointment of Dean Smith as their new head coach. Issue date: Monday November 15, 2021.

Smith (left) replaces Daniel Farke at Norwich after the German was sacked on November 6

Asked whether it was a risk to take the job, Smith replied: “No, if I thought it was a risk then I wouldn’t have taken it.

“We’ve got 27 games left in the Premier League, so there’s a lot of points to play for and we’re just on the back of a win.

“I’ve seen how progressive this club has been. Yes, it’s been difficult in the Premier League so far. Mine and Craig [Shakespeare’s] job, along with the rest of the staff and Stuart [Webber], is to keep us in the league this season and that’s firmly what we believe we can do.

“We’ve got a great belief that we can get as many points as we can in 27 games to stay in this league and I believe the squad is capable of doing that.

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Former Norwich manager Paul Lambert believes Smith and his assistant Craig Shakespeare can guide the club to safety in the Premier League

“The club got their first win away at Brentford in their last game and we can build on that confidence that the players should’ve got from that.

“I think there is enough quality [in the squad]. I’ve looked at the squad with Craig [Shakespeare] and we both believe it’s a squad that probably isn’t producing the results they need.

“Our job is to improve their performance levels, if we do that then we’ll get the results.”

Smith’s first game in charge will be at home to Southampton on Saturday.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Norwich’s win against Brentford in the Premier League.

He will make history as the first man to manage successive Premier League matches against the same opponent with different teams, after being sacked by Villa following defeat at the Saints.

“I have an idea already of how Southampton play,” Smith said. “It should help me in terms of not having to catch up so much as it would be if it was a club I hadn’t played against.

“But they [Southampton] beat Aston Villa 1-0 so we have to turn the result and the performance around.”

Webber: Smith has always been a long-term target

Smith and former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard were understood to be in a two-horse race to take charge at Norwich, but the latter withdrew from the running as he did not feel the job was right for him at this stage of his career.

Sky Sports News had been told that, even before Lampard withdrew his interest, Norwich’s bosses had been impressed by the vision and ethos of Smith’s ideas for the squad.

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Norwich’s sporting director Stuart Webber says Dean Smith has always been a long-term target for the club

Speaking at Smith’s first news conference as Norwich boss, the club’s sporting director Stuart Webber revealed: “We spoke to other people of course, but we kept our powder dry.

“When Dean lost his job on the Sunday morning, my ears pricked up very quickly because he was someone who has always been a long-term target.

“I phoned his agent and expected him to say he’s not interested because he maybe wants to have a break, but Smith then rang me.

“Myself and Neil Adams were then sat in Dean’s house very quickly after that moment discussing the way forward for this football club.

“As soon as Dean became available and it was very clear he wanted to be part of the club and was ready to go straight back in, it became a very easy decision.”

Norwich fixtures: What’s coming up for Smith?

November 20: Norwich vs Southampton – Premier League, kick-off 3pm

November 27: Norwich vs Wolves – Premier League, kick-off 3pm

November 30: Newcastle vs Norwich – Premier League, kick-off 7.30pm

December 5: Tottenham vs Norwich – Premier League, kick-off 2pm

December 11: Norwich vs Man Utd – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports

December 14: Norwich vs Aston Villa – Premier League, kick-off 7.45pm