'I learnt so much working under Dean' - John Terry on Smith's magic touch

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith (left) and first team coach John Terry during the Carabao Cup, Quarte

John Terry has praised Dean Smith's man-management of players. - Credit: PA

One of Dean Smith's biggest strengths as a manager is his man management, according to former assistant boss John Terry. 

The ex-Chelsea defender worked closely with the new Norwich City head coach during their time at Aston Villa before departing this summer to pursue his own managerial ambitions. 

Terry has completed a lot of the hard yards as a supportive presence to Smith during his three-year tenure at his boyhood club. 

Smith's first game in charge of the Canaries yielded an important 2-1 victory over Southampton and gave everyone at Carrow Road a massive lift after a frustrating start to the campaign. 

It was his tactical acumen rather than motivational skills that helped City come from behind to record back-to-back top-flight wins for the first time in over 50 Premier League matches. 

In the weeks to come, Smith will begin to gain a better understanding with his new squad both as players and people. 

Terry has recalled an anecdote during their time together at Villa which highlights the level of detail Smith puts into motivating and understanding his players.  

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“I won’t name the player but [it was] working as an assistant at Aston Villa under Dean, who thinks about the players constantly, the lads love him and it’s obviously a shame he lost his job,” said Terry during an appearance on beIN TV.

“We were training and I wasn’t happy with one particular player. I kind of dug him out and had a one-on-one.

“I said to the gaffer ‘I’m not happy’. He said ‘OK, explain it to him’. I sat him down and basically went mad at him. I said ‘not good enough, you’re not in the team, that’s not going to get you in the team performing like that’.

“He came back, we had a little debate. I told the manager and he said 'have you asked him about his family life?’

“It didn’t even enter my head, not at all. The next morning, I texted [him] and said ‘get in early, we’ll have a bit of breakfast’.

Dean Smith takes charge of Norwich City for this first time this afternoon

Dean Smith's man management skills have been praised by John Terry. - Credit: Denise Bradley

“It was during Covid, his family were away, he’d not seen his mum and dad, he’d just had a baby and I was like ‘wow’. I learnt so much working under Dean for those little bits.

“We ended up giving him a day off so he could spend time with his family.

“He was incredible after that, like a new player, fighting to get back in the team. Again, it’s man-management.

“You need a touch nowadays, a soft side.”

NCFC extra: House of Pain is music to Smith's ears

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