Smith explains how patience proves Aston Villa are improving

Date published: Sunday 20th December 2020 10:01 - Samuel Bannister

Dean Smith praised Aston Villa for showing patience in their efforts to break down West Brom.

Villa claimed a 3-0 win over their Midlands rivals, who went down to 10 men in the first half.

It took some time for Villa to extend the one-goal lead they had at that moment, but eventually they were able to claim a convincing win.

It makes it three games unbeaten and three clean sheets in a row in December for Smith’s side. Naturally, the manager was pleased with what he saw.

“A very good performance again, following on from Burnley and West Ham when we came away with nothing,” he said. “To win three games away from home 3-0 shows we are in a good place.

“We started really well and expected that against a side with a new manager bounce. Our energy levels were there to see, we controlled it form start to finish.”

The task was made easier for Villa when their opponents were reduced to 10 men. It was a decision that Smith agreed with.

“You cannot lunge and Jake Livermore is frustrated, he has been fouled and lunges in,” he said. “He catches Jack Grealish on the calf and by the letter of the law it is a red. It was a bit of red mist, you cannot tackle like that.

“Jack was fantastic and he looks like he is playing on the playground with his mates. His balance is incredible, he is so hard to knock off the ball.”

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Smith happy Villa didn’t ‘force it’

With the opposition one man down, Villa had to wait for the right moment to take advantage. Smith thinks the way they did showed a sign of improvement compared to last season.

“There were times last season when the opposition went down to 10 men and we tried to force it but we were patient. We missed a number of chance to make it 2-0. The offside call for Ollie Watkins was very marginal.

“I don’t think they had a shot on goal against us all game.”

Smith also sang the praises of Anwar El Ghazi, who scored the first and last goals of the game.

He added: “Anwar El Ghazi’s performance levels were good against Burnley and did well tonight and scored two goals.”

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