Express & Star

Aston Villa’s James Chester returns to action

Villa defender James Chester returned to action last night as the club’s under-23s beat Manchester United 4-1 in the Premier League 2 clash at the Banks’s Stadium.

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Chester started the match for the claret and blues, who ran out easy winners with goals from Indiana Vassilev after 14 minutes, a penalty from Tyreik Wright on the half-hour and a Jacob Ramsey brace as the first half drew to a close.

The 30-year-old Wales international missed the second half of Villa’s Championship promotion campaign after finally succumbing to the pain of a knee injury, despite playing with the problem for a number of months.

Previously, Chester did not miss a game for more than two seasons after joining Villa in a £6million move from Albion in August 2016.

Meanwhile, Dean Smith has told his Villa players to keep their belief, promising ‘The results will come’.

The Villa boss admitted he was bitterly disappointed to see his side squander their lead twice at the Emirates on Sunday before eventually losing the game to an Arsenal side which had been reduced to 10 men.

But he was bullish about Villa’s chances in the top flight insisting there is no-one in the Premier Division who the claret and blues should fear.

Asked about the need to turn promising positions into victories, Smith told the club’s website: “The players have to believe they (win) are coming. I certainly don’t fear anyone in this league and I’ve told them they shouldn’t either.

“Manchester City and Liverpool are the top two teams, but we’ve already given a good account of ourselves in games against top-six sides.

“Arsenal was an opportunity for all three points and we didn’t take it. Our mentality has to be when we’re leading to go and get the next goal and kill the game. We should have done that.”

Smith insists Villa must be more composed after taking the lead and stop giving away ‘silly goals’ to let teams back into the game.

“It’s the same – giving away those silly goals. That and allowing them a lot of possession in our half, when we didn’t need to.”