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Dean Smith eager for Aston Villa's forwards to start firing

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

Dean Smith has urged his faltering forwards to start delivering the goals to aid Villa’s survival fight.

Mbwana Samatta has failed to find the net since the season's restart.

Relegation-threatened Villa host Manchester United tonight looking to end a nine-match winless run which has left them four points adrift of safety with only five matches to play.

A return of just two goals in five games since the Premier League resumed last month has not helped their cause, prompting Smith to hold talks with his forward line over how they can improve in the final third.

He said: “I sat down with the forwards and spoke about not getting involved in the build-up as much and instead getting inside the six-yard box to get on the end of crosses.

“We’ve put some very good balls into the box in three of the five games, certainly. We should have more on our goals tally and points tally.

“We seem to defend well from set-pieces in general play, but it’s finding that balance of getting forward-thinking players to score goals. I’m judged on results, they’re judged on goals at the end of the day.”

Defenders Kortney Hause and Ahmed Elmohamady have been the only players to find the net since the season resumed, with strikers Keinan Davis and Mbwana Samatta both failing to find the target.

Smith has not ruled out giving youngster Indiana Vassilev more game time as he looks to get his team firing.

The boss, meanwhile, insists there is no more pressure on Villa despite Watford’s win over Norwich on Tuesday night further opening the gap to safety.

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“Everybody expected Watford to win and they’re four points ahead of us,” he said. “If we get a win against United it’s one point again. If we get a draw it’s three points.

“I think we surprised people with our performance at Liverpool (on Sunday) but ultimately we came away with nothing. I said I don’t want to be a valiant loser. We need points, we need scoreboard pressure.

“We’ll be going all out to get that win against United. But we’ll certainly need a performance similar to what we had against Liverpool.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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