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Dean Smith: Aston Villa switched off in defeat to Man City

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Dean Smith admitted Villa were made to pay for switching off as they fell to a 3-0 defeat at Premier League champions Manchester City.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith

Having reached half-time at the Etihad Stadium with the score at 0-0, Villa conceded within a minute of the restart as Raheem Sterling broke the deadlock.

Further goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan sealed the win for City, who had Fernandinho sent-off late on.

Smith said: "We can handle the pressure of the situation but there's got to be concentration all of the time.

“Unfortunately, 46 seconds into the second half the good work's gone.

“You see Manchester City for their intricate passing and movements and you sit back and applaud the goals but this one was a 70-yard punt from the goalkeeper. Defensively, we didn't deal with it.

“Tyrone (Mings) should have headed it clear but, if he didn't, Bjorn (Engels) and Fred (Guilbert) should have been in better positions to deal with it and, if you give top players like Sterling opportunities like that then you'll get punished.”

City’s second goal was controversial, with David Silva initially claiming a touch on De Bruyne’s cross.

That would likely have led to the goal being ruled out, due to Raheem Sterling being in an offside position and impeding Villa keeper Tom Heaton’s view.

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But after a lengthy check, video assistant referee Jon Moss could not decide whether Silva had touched the ball and allowed the goal to stand, De Bruyne getting the credit.

However, some time after the final whistle, the goal accreditation panel - an independent entity which has no affiliation with VAR - awarded the goal to Silva, compounding the farce.

Smith said: “I was disappointed with how we defended the short corner.

“But I get back in the dressing after and see it and David Silva scores the goal. That's a get-out-of-jail for the officials because Silva certainly touches it, he goes away celebrating which is a bit of a giveaway.

“When he touches it, Sterling was in an offside position, clearly impeding the goalkeeper.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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