Dean Smith: Divine intervention in Aston Villa's previous clash with Sheffield United?

Dean Smith believes divine intervention may have contributed to the goal-line technology malfunction when Villa last hosted Sheffield United.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland appears to carry the ball over the line as Sheffield United players appeal.
Aston Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland appears to carry the ball over the line as Sheffield United players appeal.

June’s meeting finished in a controversial 0-0 draw after the Hawk-Eye system, which had never previously failed, did not register Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland carrying the ball over his own line.

The point ended up being a precious one for Smith’s team, who avoided relegation on the final day of the season.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s visit of the Blades, Smith described the error as ‘one-in-a-million’.

The last match took place just a few weeks after the death of his father Ron, who had worked as a steward at Villa for many years.

Smith said: “It is one of those one-in-a-million things. It has never failed before and it failed on that day.

“I am not really one for religion or anything like that, but my dad had just passed away.

“His old steward’s jacket was in the Holte End and he had a thing about watches. So maybe he just wanted to play a bit of a trick that day?”

Smith gives short-shrift to those who claim the blunder means Villa were fortunate to avoid the drop, pointing out his team were on the wrong end of several questionable VAR decisions during the course of the campaign.

“People can say what they want about the goal,” he said. “We stayed up by merit and there were certainly many goals chalked off which shouldn’t have been last season.

“VAR was certainly contentious last season to say the least for Villa.”

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