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Dean Smith defends Danny Drinkwater after testing Aston Villa debut

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

Dean Smith is confident Danny Drinkwater will come good for Villa despite the midfielder’s difficult debut against Manchester City.

Danny Drinkwater, left, struggled on his Villa debut.

Drinkwater, who joined on loan from Chelsea until the end of the season, was handed just his seventh Premier League start since August 2017 for yesterday’s visit of the champions.

But the 29-year-old struggled as Villa were hammered 6-1 and was most notably at fault for City’s second goal, scored by Riyad Mahrez.

Smith later leapt to his defence, claiming: “Danny Drinkwater will make us a better team.

“I thought he started the game well, he got on the ball and put some crisp passes.

“He’s made a mistake for the second goal, but I think there were others at fault too for trying to run the ball out as well.

“We were contributors to our own downfall with the mistakes we made.”

Drinkwater had made only two appearances while on loan at Burnley during the first half of the season but Smith insisted his debut had not come too soon.

“Danny needed it. He’s got 75 minutes of match time which he needed,” he said.

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“We’ve got injuries at the moment to three key players. Danny’s come in, he’s looked good in training and we’ve got 75 minutes out of him. He wasn’t the reason we got beat 6-1, that’s for sure.”

For the second match running, Smith named a starting XI which did not include a recognised striker and Villa’s efforts to bolster the forward line will continue this week.

Asked if he would be disappointed should the club not add to their ranks before Saturday’s trip to Brighton, the boss replied: “If we don’t then I have to cope with it. That’s the name of the game.

“I know how hard the people above me are working to try and get players in and I know how hard this market is to work in. If we get one in, brilliant, if we don’t then we will cope.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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