Aston Villa manager Dean Smith says the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that fans are the ‘lifeblood’ of football as supporters prepare to return this week.
Premier League sides will welcome back fans at a reduced capacity for fixtures this week, in line with the latest government guidelines as the UK continues to deal with the threat of the ongoing pandemic.
Villa travel to face Tottenham in the Premier League tomorrow evening, before concluding their league campaign with a home fixture against Chelsea on Sunday.
Speaking at a pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Spurs, Smith has spoken on his excitement at the prospect of fans returning and says the absence of supporters has been strongly felt.
Smith added that his players are looking forward to playing in front of their ‘loved ones’ and the Villa fanbase as football takes its first steps towards normality following a challenging period.
“Everyone is looking forward to it,” said Smith.
“The last year has shown how important supporters are, they are the lifeblood.
“I watched the play-off semi finals last night and the atmosphere was great in both stadiums.
“We’ve all felt it. We made five new signings in the summer and their family and friends have never seen them play at Villa Park.
“For the players as well, it’s something they’ve been missing to play in front of their loved ones.”