Dean Smith admits surprise at "harsh" FA charge for Aston Villa
Dean Smith has expressed his surprise at the FA’s decision to charge Villa following last weekend’s explosive Second City derby.
Both Villa and rivals Blues were charged with failing to control their players following a brief flashpoint caused by Maikel Kieftenbeld’s fifth-minute challenge on Jack Grealish, for which the German was shown a yellow card.
Smith described the FA’s decision to take retrospective action against the clubs as “inconsistent and harsh”.
He said: “Yes, there were players around the referee but I’m surprised there has been a charge because it’s inconsistent.
“Every time I watch games on TV, there’s three or more players around the referee contesting decisions. Not all charges are put up.
“Unfortunately ourselves and Birmingham, after I thought both sets of players kept a lid on it during the game and that was the only flashpoint. To be charged is very harsh and inconsistent.”
Blues boss Garry Monk agreed, saying: “In terms of the charge against the players and Aston Villa’s players I was surprised to see it if I’m honest.
“When you actually look at it I don’t think it’s an incident that’s worthy of that charge at all.”
The game was overshadowed by the later attack on Grealish by Blues supporter Paul Mitchell, who was handed a 14-month jail sentence after pleading guilty to assault and encroaching the pitch. Blues have since been charged by the FA over the incident.
Asked his views on the sentence handed to Mitchell, Smith replied: “I can’t get involved in that.
“Rightly he’s been put into jail for what was or could have been a really dangerous thing if he had been armed it could have been something different. We have to move on from it now.”
Villa hosted Middlesbrough today knowing victory would see them jump into the Championship’s top six for the first time since September.
They are also targeting four consecutive wins for the first time this season, with Smith hoping they have hit form at just the right time.
“It’s very important to be winning games in March, April and May,” he said. “We’re hoping that we haven’t given ourselves too much to do with the points we dropped in January.
“We have to move forward and look ahead now. There’s nine games to go, we need three points in each game.
“The results and performances have given us that confidence.
“Now is a great position to try and build some momentum, which we have done. But we can’t be complacent, we have to keep that going.”