Dean Smith has won the Premier League’s Manager of the Month award for December.
The Aston Villa head coach beat Everton’s Carlo Ancelotti, Burnley’s Sean Dyche and Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to win the accolade after masterminding a five-game unbeaten run.
Smith and his backroom team oversaw three victories and two draws as the club ended 2020 in fifth place.
Adding to the unbeaten run, Smith’s side scored eight goals and conceded just once during the month – keeping a league-high four clean sheets.
Back-to-back 3-0 victories against Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion helped catapult the team up the table.
It’s the third time that the Villa boss has been nominated for the award this season after he was among the nominees in September and November, eventually missing out to Ancelotti to Nuno Espirito Santo respectively.
Smith’s win sees him become just the fourth Villa manager to claim the award, following in the footsteps of Brian Little (Jan 1995), John Gregory (Sep 1998 and Sep 2001) and Martin O’Neill (Apr 2007, Nov 2007, Dec 2008 and Apr 2010).