It’s been six weeks since Aston Villa’s staff and players went on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bodymoor Heath was officially shut down on Thursday, March 12 following the group’s final training session together.
Dean Smith said “We’re looking to try and plan the future but nobody actually knows what the future holds at the moment in terms of being able to plan. We don’t know how long the virus is going to be here for, we don’t know when we’re going to hit the peak. All we’re being led by is the government at the moment. We want to get back to playing football as soon as possible, which is our job, and making our supporters happy but it seems a long way away at the moment. We’ve been having video chats quite regulalry. The one thing it does give you is the opportunity to reset a little bit some of the things that we’ve been doing. So over the last three or four weeks I’ve actually done an hour’s review with each player, individually, just by video chat, just speaking to them about their season, how they think it’s gone, what they think they need to improve on. I’ve given them clips of videos where they’ve done well, but we need to be more consistent. And then we’re eventually going into group chats and talking about best practice. What it looks like, how it’s looked when we’ve done it and how it looks at the top teams and how we want to emulate that. It’s very much been like a video coaching role at the moment.”
Villa were preparing for a home match at Villa Park against Chelsea – only for the Premier League to intervene to cancel all matches. The players have now been apart from each other since March 12. They’d just been heavily beaten 4-0 by Leicester City on Monday, March 9 in the final Premier League game that had taken place before the break in play. Villa have fixtures remaining against Chelsea, Wolves, Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Villa Park. Away from home it’s Newcastle, Liverpool, Everton and West Ham United.