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Garry Thompson: Villa must tighten up at the back

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Holte End hero Garry Thompson claims Villa must find a way to tighten up and ease the pressure on their defence in the Premier League.

Bjorn Engels and Tom Heaton have been impressive, but Villa need to protect themselves defensively a bit more says Thompson.

Dean Smith’s men have allowed an average of more than 19 shots on goal over the first four games of the season - the most of any team in the top flight.

And former striker Thompson, now a radio pundit, believes they need to get better at shutting out opponents.

He told the Express & Star: “If I had one concern it is that we do seem to be allowing teams a few too many shots at goal.

“Crystal Palace had 22, which is too many. It does suggest we are maybe a little too open and perhaps Dean Smith might need to tweak things to close it up.

“Both Tyrone Mings and Bjorn Engels have been superb at the back but they can’t block everything.”

Despite those worries, Thompson has seen plenty of positives, albeit in a league campaign which has so far delivered three defeats and only one victory.

Villa, who undertook a large-scale overhaul of their playing squad after winning promotion, are back in action against West Ham next Monday.

Thompson said: “I’m not too worried. The performance last time out at Palace (when Villa lost 1-0) wasn’t great but it was the first really bad display.

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“On the whole, I don’t think we have done too badly. The season we were relegated you could sense very quickly we were in massive trouble and I don’t feel that this time.

“The season was always going to be a slow burner. Of course you would want a quick start but the teams who go flying out of the blocks don’t always do so well later on.

“Considering all the change that took place during the summer, the whole thing is coming together quicker than I expected, to be honest.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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