Dean Smith: We didn't take our chances
Frustrated boss Dean Smith admitted Villa must do better after they slipped to a third straight Premier League defeat at Sheffield United.
Two second half goals from John Fleck earned the Blades a deserved victory at Bramall Lane, with Villa’s miserable afternoon capped off when Jack Grealish hit the bar from the penalty spot.
Smith’s men have now lost six of their last eight top flight matches and could finish the weekend in the relegation zone, depending on the result of Saturday’s late kick-off between Southampton and West Ham.
The boss said: "I'm annoyed because we're better than we've shown, certainly without the ball.
“I've been complaining after Chelsea and Leicester about being better without the ball and I thought we showed some good defensively discipline today, good shape, made it very difficult for them and I thought they got a little bit frustrated with it.
“Goals change games, they've taken their chances, we didn't take ours.”
Fleck opened the scoring five minutes after the break thanks to a piece of improvisation from defender Chris Basham, with David McGoldrick then setting up the midfielder for his second.
Grealish smacked his spot-kick against the bar after VAR awarded a penalty following John Egan’s handball.
Villa now face a mammoth festive period, starting with Tuesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against Liverpool.
Smith said: "We're disappointed because we've lost another game. Listen, football changes very quickly.
“We've got a quarter-final on Tuesday against Liverpool. It looks like it'll be a very youthful Liverpool team.
“As I've said, it was two games ago and now it's three games ago, we've come off the pitch at Old Trafford and getting lauded for a really good performance after we dispatched Newcastle.
“We've lost three games on the spin, let's put it into some perspective, two of them were against Chelsea and Leicester who are six points clear of Man City now.”