Dean Smith: Spurs have had indifferent month but are far from in crisis

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Aston Villa boss Dean Smith does not “buy in” to the suggestion Tottenham are struggling under new head coach Nuno Espirito Santo.

A poor performance from Spurs in their north London derby defeat at Arsenal last week came on the back of disappointing losses to Crystal Palace and Chelsea.

That has seen questions asked of Nuno, who was only appointed in the summer following a lengthy search for a replacement for Jose Mourinho.

Things started well for the former Wolves boss as Tottenham topped the Premier League heading into the September international break but go into this weekend in the bottom half of the table.

Villa’s win at Manchester United last weekend has them above Spurs ahead of their trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – but Smith will not be taking the hosts lightly.

“It always makes me smile that a manager can be nominated for manager of the month one month and then a month later everybody is talking that they are in crisis – and they’re certainly far from that,” he said.

“Yes, they have had an indifferent month but that can happen. This league is a tough league to play in and they won their first three games without conceding a goal.

“Now all of a sudden they’re struggling defensively, I don’t buy into any of that personally. They’ve got a very, very good squad of players, I’ve got an awful lot of respect for Nuno and believe he will do a good job.

“We’re certainly very respectful of the Tottenham team they have there and well prepared accordingly.”

Only Wolves and Southampton have scored fewer home goals in the early stages of the new season than Spurs and Villa won 2-1 there towards the end of last year.

Smith insists his team will travel to the capital with plenty of confidence but acknowledged Nuno’s side have the quality to turn it on.

“We hold no fear going to Tottenham but we know the dangers that they have,” he added.

“We certainly have to be at our best but we have confidence and we have a bit of belief in ourselves at the moment so it should make for a really good game.

“They’ve got Harry Kane, they’ve got Son (Heung-min), they’ve got (Lucas) Moura – so they’ve got goals, we know that.

“Our job is to make sure that we starve them of chances.

“We gave away, I think it was 28 attempts, on our goal last week against Manchester United but they were all from a low probability area of scoring so that shows me that we’re working hard as a team to restrict teams.

“We have to do that against Tottenham as well. I believe that we are a threat and we will cause problems to most teams with the calibre of offensive players we’ve got but defensively, you can see how hard Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings are working for the team as well.”

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