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Dean Smith left fuming by Aston Villa's no-show

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Dean Smith was left fuming by what he described as Villa’s worst 45 minutes since January after they fell to derby defeat at Wolves.

Dean Smith questioned the desire of his Villa side (AMA)

Goals from Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez earned Nuno Espirito Santo’s team a 2-1 victory over their rivals, for whom Trezeguet netted a late consolation.

Neves deservedly fired the home side ahead after 41 minutes and it was Villa’s first-half no show which left Smith furious.

He said: "That’s as bad a first 45 minutes I’ve had since we lost 3-0 at Wigan away last year. We were very poor, we just didn’t start.

"It appeared the game was bigger for them than it was for us, we didn’t win any balls, duels, didn’t pass it well.

“The best thing I got out of the first half was it was only 1-0 at half-time.”

Villa, who were already missing Tom Heaton, Bjorn Engels and Jack Grealish through, also saw Jed Steer and Matt Targett forced off in the first-half.

But Smith refused to use the injury misfortune as an excuse.

He said: “It still doesn't affect your desire to go and win a header, a tackle, a second ball and just help your teammates out and I didn't think we did that first half.

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"Listen, we’ve got to go and compete, it doesn’t matter what game you’re playing.

"People aren't just going to let you pass the ball and I thought they put us under pressure and we didn't cope with the pressure they put us under today in the first 45 minutes. You can't give anyone a 45-minute head start, especially in the Premier League."

Steer, who replaced Heaton in goal, will undergo a scan on an Achilles injury sustained just four minutes into the match.

He was replaced in goal by Orjan Nyland, Villa’s third-choice keeper, who was making his first appearance since last December.

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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