Dean Smith insists Aston Villa "giving everything" as relegation fears intensify
Dean Smith insisted he can demand no more commitment from his players after Saturday’s defeat to Wolves pushed Villa further into the relegation mire.
The 1-0 loss, courtesy of Leander Dendoncker’s 62nd minute strike, left Villa 19th in the table with just six matches left to play.
Having taken just two points from the first four games since the Premier League’s resumption, Smith now finds his own position under increasing scrutiny.
But the boss promised his team, who next travel to champions Liverpool, will continue to battle for every point.
“I think everyone can see they are doing that, the last four games they have left everything on the pitch,” he said.
“There is nothing more I can ask from them apart from a little bit of quality but you are always going to struggle for quality in the final third.”
Villa have now scored only two goals in their last six top flight matches but Smith once again found encouragement in their performance, adding: “When we play poorly and get battered then I'll say we've got a problem.
“The lads are standing up to everything and defensively we have been really good in the four games and there are a lot of points to play for. These lads will keep battling away.”
Having taken aim at the Premier League fixture schedulers after Villa’s fourth match in 11 days, Smith now has an entire week to work with his players before Sunday’s trip to Anfield.
Yet the boss is likely to have one eye elsewhere with Bournemouth and West Ham, still only above Villa on goal difference, both playing twice before then.
“We haven’t even thought about Liverpool and we'll start building up to it this week,” he said. “The thoughts were on the first four games, we planned for each game and they have gone how I expected them to go.
“Unfortunately, we haven't got the results we probably deserved. I felt we should have beaten Newcastle and Sheffield United and have a share of the points today.
“We haven’t and what we won't do is lose belief in what we’re doing. We have been extremely hard to beat for any team - that includes Chelsea. We'll come out with a plan to try to beat the champions.”
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