Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Dean Smith says the work has started to return Norwich to the Premier League

Dean Smith is hoping to engineer another promotion (PA)
Dean Smith is hoping to engineer another promotion (PA)

Norwich manager Dean Smith has insisted planning is well under way for a run at the Championship title race next season after Premier League relegation was confirmed by defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Canaries’ 2-0 loss, coupled with Burnley’s come-from-behind 2-1 win at Watford, condemned Norwich to the drop after just one season in the top flight for the third time.

In the last three seasons Norwich have finished first in the Championship twice and bottom of the Premier League once, with another 20th place a distinct possibility as they sit one point behind Watford in 19th.

Although there was disappointment on Smith’s return to Villa Park there was no great surprise, and the 51-year-old said the club had been planning for either survival or relegation since the turn of the year.

“Part of the reason for coming here was for both: to try and keep us in the league but also if we did go down, I know the Championship and have taken a team out of there before,” said Smith, who brought Villa up via the play-offs in 2019.

The summer will give Smith the chance to put his own stamp on the Norwich squad, although he will hope to keep together a core of players who have already shown they are good enough to earn promotion.

“I’m looking forward to it, but I was looking forward to working with these players as well,” he said. “That’s why I feel responsible that we haven’t improved enough to stay in the league.

“There is certainly a lot to work with. There’s some really good players at this football club that can get better, they’ve just found the step to the Premier League a little bit hard.

“We know they are more than capable of playing at Championship level.”

Smith took over at Norwich in November. The Canaries began the season with only two points from 10 games, and though they won their 11th match, against Brentford, it would be Daniel Farke’s last match in charge.

From there, survival always looked like a long shot, and although he could not deliver it Smith said he believed his side had improved on his watch.

“I think we knew when we came back into the Premier League and had only two points after 10 games that it was going to be tough to stay up,” he said.

“There’s been moments when I feel we could have been better. You’ve got to win the games against the teams in and around you, losing at home to Brentford and Leeds away in quick succession was a big disappointment.

“Like most teams you don’t get much out of Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea so that’s why it looks a lopsided Premier League again with the top three getting a scary amount of points…

“I think we’ve made progress but not as quick as I’d liked.”

“We have to aspire to winning the league again like we have done in the last two seasons we were in the Championship. If we do that hopefully we can use the lessons of this season to do better.”