Dean Smith questions Aston Villa's desire

Dean Smith has challenged Villa’s players to prove they are good enough for the Premier League as the inquest continues into Saturday’s dire defeat at Southampton.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith prior to the beginning of the Premier League match at St Mary's Southampton (Mark Kerton/PA Wire)
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith prior to the beginning of the Premier League match at St Mary's Southampton (Mark Kerton/PA Wire)

The boss reckoned some members of his squad would be “cowering behind their seats” during today’s scheduled debrief into the 2-0 reverse, a result which left Villa (insert league position).

A furious Smith branded the performance “embarrassing” and tore into his team in the immediate aftermath, claiming he possesses too many “training ground players”.

He also threatened to make changes for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.

Asked what response he wanted to see from his players, Smith replied: "They need to show me what they're about,. They certainly didn't on Saturday.

"There's too many training ground players. You have to perform on a matchday.

"If you want to be a Premier League player you have to perform week in, week out. Too many of ours didn't at Southampton.

“I'm sure there will be a few players cowering behind the seats during the debrief.

"I can't change what's happened. It's what we do next and how we get ready for the next game.”

Shane Long and Stuart Armstrong got the goals as the Saints secured a win which eased their own lingering fears of being dragged into a relegation scrap.

Villa failed to muster a serious attempt on target as they slumped to their 16th Premier League defeat of the season.

Smith, who has described every remaining match as a cup final for his team, is most frustrated by their inconsistency.

He added: “We can’t keep being seven out of 10s one week and four out of 10s the next but that is what happened.

“Saturday was our cup final and we have another one next week. What some players have done is played their way out of the team.

“The thing that hurt me the most was the lack of fight, particularly in the first half.

“I'm going to have to take full responsibility for that but that has to be the lowest of the low. I thought Watford (away) was bad but today was on a par with that.”

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News