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Dean Smith: Aston Villa need more belief

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published: | Last Updated:

Dean Smith felt Villa paid the price for a lack of belief in last night’s 2-1 defeat at Chelsea.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith (Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Tammy Abraham netted his 13th goal of the season to open the scoring, before setting up Mason Mount for the winner after Trezeguet had put the visitors back on level terms.

Substitute Douglas Luiz almost snatched a point for Villa late on but Smith admitted he could have few complaints about the result, with Chelsea going close on several occasions and goalkeeper Tom Heaton having twice brilliantly denied Willian.

The Villa boss said: “I thought the best team won on the night. They started each half a lot better than we did. We grew into each half but the first 20 minutes of each half they put us under a lot of pressure.

"We hung in there but that's not what we're about, trying to hang on in a game. People will say we worked hard but that's what I expect of the players. I feel we can be as good as teams like Chelsea but we've got to be more consistent in our play to do that.

"The word for me is belief. When we played with a lot of belief then we went toe-to-toe and put them under pressure. There were times when we sat off too much and allowed them to play.”

The defeat was Villa’s sixth in eight Premier League away matches and leaves them 15th in the table, now just one point above the bottom three.

Abraham, who scored 26 goals while on loan at Villa Park last season as he helped the club win promotion, didn’t celebrate his strike.

Smith said: "He's the same player. Listen, he'll get better and better. He's a good player. It makes me smile when people say Chelsea are a young team.

“Tammy's played 120-odd games in top two levels. They've got some very, very good players. I thought they had three Kantes at one stage!”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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