Dean Smith reiterated that Aston Villa have several ways to replace Jack Grealish after seeing one of them, Emiliano Buendia, score their only goal in a 1-1 draw with Brentford.
Smith welcomed his former employers to Villa Park as both sides looked to build some momentum in the Premier League. Despite plenty of energy on show, they had to settle for a point apiece. Ivan Toney put the visitors ahead in the seventh minute before Buendia equalised six minutes later.
There were chances for either side after, but no one could add to the scoreline, leaving Villa on four points and Brentford on five ahead of the international break.
Smith admitted that Villa were affected by some disruption to their plans and they weren’t quite good enough for the three points.
“I’m not sure we did enough to win,” he told Sky Sports. “We probably didn’t create enough clear-cut chances.
“I’m satisfied with the endeavour and work rate. It has been a strange 24 hours to say the least.
“The team we started with was not the one we worked with yesterday.”
Villa have spent heavily in the summer transfer window, reinvesting plenty of the money from selling Grealish to Manchester City for £100m.
It still seems to be taking some time for things to click, and until they build consistency, questions will be asked of missing their former captain.
But Smith insists they have solutions and was pleased to see one of them on the scoresheet.
On who can replace Grealish, he said: “We have a number of players who can do it. We brought Emi Buendia in because he can do that.”
Villa may have plenty of squad depth now, but still had to do without some key men, which made things tough – as did their opponents’ strengths.
“We were without the likes of [John] McGinn, [Leon] Bailey, [Tyrone] Mings,” Smith said. “It’s been a tough week but we have come through it with a point.
“Brentford have scored three goals this season all from set pieces so we were well aware of the threat.”
Frank felt Brentford edged it
Meanwhile, Brentford boss Thomas Frank was pleased with how his side started each half. What’s more, he thought his side edged proceedings.
Frank told Match of the Day: “Happy with most of the performance. We started the game brilliant at a difficult place to play. We scored and I felt we were really on top of the game. Then one miscommunication and it gave them the chance.
“In the second half I felt we started better and then it was more even in the last part of the game. I felt if there should have been a narrow winner it should have been us.
“I would like us to be even braver. My message before every game is to go for a win, play forward and attack. I just probably need to keep reinforcing it.”
Frank also had praise for Toney after his first Premier League goal.
“I said after the game, ‘what took you so long’. He is a fantastic finisher. His presence on the pitch leading the team is amazing.”