Norwich have appointed Dean Smith as head coach on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

Smith, sacked by Aston Villa eight days ago, agreed to take over at Norwich on Saturday after Frank Lampard withdrew from the running.

Smith is joined at Carrow Road by Craig Shakespeare, who was his assistant at Villa Park.

“It has been a whirlwind seven days, but I’m really pleased to be back and working for Norwich City in the Premier League,” said Smith.

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“Clearly, there has been some wonderful work that has gone into this football club over the last four-and-a-half years. It is now the job of myself and Craig to continue and improve on that work with the ultimate aim of surviving in the Premier League.

“Norwich City is a big club, with a massive hardcore of supporters who are fully understanding in what it means to be part of the club and its community.

“I was brought up in an era when Norwich were competing in Europe – I remember those times well and whenever I’ve visited Carrow Road and Norwich you can really sense the connection between the fans, staff and players.

“Together, we all have to make Carrow Road a really tough place for visiting teams.”

Norwich are bottom of the Premier League, five points adrift of safety after recording their first league win of the season at Brentford prior to the international break.

Previous head coach Daniel Farke was sacked just hours after that victory on November 6.

Smith, 50, and former Chelsea boss Lampard were understood to be in a two-horse race to take charge at Carrow Road, but the latter withdrew from the running as he did not feel the job was right for him at this stage of his career.

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Even before Lampard withdrew his interest, Norwich’s bosses were understood to have been impressed by the vision and ethos of Smith’s ideas for the squad.

Norwich sporting director Stuart Webber said: “Dean has an outstanding track record and as soon as he made it clear that he was ready to go straight back into a managerial role we contacted him immediately.

“He shares the same values and vision as the club, has a proven track record of winning games in the Premier League as well as developing players and building a winning culture and mentality.

“In Craig Shakespeare we have secured an assistant head coach with an outstanding reputation and vast experience within the game. We are delighted that Craig has agreed to join our new team.

“We look forward to working with Dean and Craig and building on the outstanding work which has been achieved at this club in the last few years.

“There are huge challenges ahead, but we are excited and determined to see how far we can continue to grow as a club on and off the pitch.”

Smith’s first match in charge will be at home to Southampton, who consigned Villa to a fifth straight league defeat in the final game of his Villa tenure, on November 20, after the ongoing international break.

Big task to secure survival?

The outlook certainly appears gloomy with five points from two draws and one win in 11 games, but the Canaries still remain only five points deep in the relegation zone – a relatively small margin to overturn with 27 games left to play.

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The primary concern is how their rock-bottom status in the division transfers across a raft of metrics on the pitch: goals, expected goals, chances created, passes in the final third and goals conceded – to list just a few.

The underwhelming returns up top are a stark contrast to the team’s free-scoring exploits during their title-winning promotion campaign in the Championship last term.

Of course, the step up into England’s top tier plays a factor, as it did during their immediate relegation in 2019/20, but the disparity between seasons appears even greater this time around – and it ended with a rock-bottom finish last time.

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