Dean Smith was in fine form after an unusual 3-0 victory on the road last night at Aston Villa Fulham.
Jack Grilich struck just four minutes before Connor Houriha took 15 minutes well into the action.
Tyrone Mings came into the act just after half time, delivering the whip of Horihne.
With the win, they have been reduced to two in the Premier League while Villa have yet to accept the Foot of the Lona in 180 minutes. His unbeaten run in the Premier League is now six in length, coming back from a 2-0 win over Palace in last season’s Project Restart.
Following Villa’s first far-reaching victory on New Year’s Day, here’s what head coach Smith said, including addressing recent reports linking Villa to lending for Chelsea Duo, Ross Barclays and Reuben Loftus-Gal.
Good win in 27 matches and your first away clean sheet …
“It’s really fun. A good all-round performance, we’ve got the right balance at the moment. We’ve got a little bit of good quality and want to keep the ball behind the net. It’s a moment that’s really fun.”
What did you enjoy the most?
“The balance between defense and attack. It’s something that is very difficult to get right in football. Before lockdown we were guilty of being gang-ho to win games. After lockdown we defended deep deep and numbers.
“The balance between defending and attacking was what made me happiest. We scored some good goals and we showed resilience to keep the sheets clean.”
You have a solid backbone, common suspects come forward …
“It was a team performance together. There was no one who challenged. JJ (Jacob Ramsay) was also really happy to meet. He got a chance with his performance in Bristol City to make his Premier League. Debuted and was applauded by the players. “
A target for Oli Watkins is probably the only blot …
“It’s disappointing but it gives us another dimension. The players really appreciate the effort and work rate he puts into his performance.
“He definitely pulls the game for us and for his non-stop work rate, effort and quality. With midfielders and Jack Grillish he is doing well now.”
That’s a great start, what can you achieve?
“Just try and win the next game. That’s all we can do. We’re not setting high expectations. We weren’t satisfied with the last 17th season. We want to get better. We need to keep working hard. Performing like tonight. “
Any interest in Ross Barkley or Reuben Loftus-Gal on loan before next week’s deadline?
“We’ll always talk to a lot of football clubs about the players because it’s something that needs to be monitored because we want to improve our team.”
Towards the best of John Maggins …
“I said he would play in a friendly against Manchester United before the season started and I thought we would get John McGinn back.
“After the project restart he was regaining his fitness. He played well at Liverpool and was our best player at West Ham on the final day of last season.
“Today, I thought he was excellent, which is why so many people were talking about him last season. He has a big heart and he’s a big character in our dressing room.”
The England team announced on Thursday that Jack Grillish could not do much, could he?
“It will be Gareth’s decision. Jack can’t do anything more, certainly based on the first half (Fulham vs.).
“Not only supporting the goal and the second goal, but also defensively. His reactions were the best to save and win the ball. This is something he added to his game and at the same time broke the way he did for his own goal.”
What work do you need to do?
“I knew we would be here against the Fulham team that entered the Premier League. We wouldn’t have the lion’s share of the ball. We had to make a choice when it came to pressing.
“If I choose, I was disappointed with the number of shots they have on our goal today (16, on three goals). Having said that, our two center-parts really saved really well.
“We let them spill a little more on the edge of our busses, but they don’t have big chances. It’s a credit to the defensive display.”
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