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Dean Smith: I believe in Aston Villa players despite defeat

Aston Villa | Published:

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith 'believes' in his players' ability to avoid the drop this season - despite slipping to defeat at fellow relegation rivals Bournemouth.

Dean Smith

The Cherries moved out of the Premier League's bottom three thanks to first-half goals from Philip Billing and Nathan Ake, though they were hanging on in the end after Jefferson Lerma's red card.

Lerma walked early in the second half for two bookings and Villa made a game of it as Mbwana Samatta scored on his Premier League debut - becoming the first Tanzanian to do so in this division.

But Howe's men leapfrogged their visitors in the table after seeing it out, claiming just their second win since mid-December.

Bournemouth were too hot for Villa to handle in the first half and after Billing swept home Dan Gosling's knock down in the 37th minute, Ake's fired home from close range on the stroke of half-time.

Lerma hit the crossbar early in the second half but in the 51st minute he was sent off for a second yellow card, both on Jack Grealish.

Samatta gave Villa a lifeline with a goal on his league debut with 20 minutes remaining but Villa could not force a leveller.

Villa are in a perilous position above the relegation zone, but boss Dean Smith does not see the result as decisive.

"People keep talking about six points, they have only got three points for today's game," he said.

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"We believe in the group we have got. It's just one game, we have a mini-break now and if we win when we come back we only get three points for that.

"There is a long way to go and to be honest, I didn't watch their celebrations."

Despite Lerma's red card, Smith was not happy with some of referee Anthony Taylor's decisions.

He added: "A few decisions cost us in the end. The second goal shouldn't have stood because there should have been a free-kick on the edge of their box.

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"There was a clear push on Ezri Konsa when he was in mid-air and they go the other end and get a free-kick and score from it.

"We could have had a penalty when Bjorn Engels gets punched in the face when he heads the ball over, but I don't think VAR works for those ones.

"Any other area in the pitch and that is a foul."

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