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Dean Smith takes positives from dominant Aston Villa draw

Dean Smith claimed Villa’s squad had passed its first serious test of the season despite Thursday's frustrating stalemate against Burnley.

Dean Smith
Dean Smith

Villa registered 27 attempts on goal but could not find a way through the Clarets as they were held to their first draw of the campaign.

Yet boss Smith, who was missing several key players through injury, suspension and illness, found no shortage of positives in the overall performance.

He said: “I’m really pleased. We changed 40 per cent of our team, our squad has been tested and come through with flying colours. It was a performance worthy of a win.

“We created enough chances to win two if not three games. I take the positives out of that.

“We only signed five players in the summer and were playing a team who finished above us in the league last season. I think 27 attempts against six shows how good we were.”

Smith, already without suspended duo Matty Cash and Douglas Luiz and still missing Ross Barkley, was forced into a defensive change when Ezri Konsa was ruled out with illness.

But Villa, now winless in four matches on home turf, still dominated thanks to the latest sparkling performance from Jack Grealish.

The skipper, in the headlines earlier this week after being banned from driving for nine months and fined £82,499 after admitting two counts of careless driving, was moved into a more central role.

Smith said: “It was the kind of performance I expected from Jack. There has been a lot made out of the week he has had but it was two driving offences, nothing more, nothing less.

“He handled it as I expected him to, with aplomb.

“Jack’s performances are what we are accustomed to now. We had a couple of players suspended and a couple ill.

“With the way Burnley play we needed to be good defensively and win second balls.

“But I thought Jack could win the ball between the lines if we pressed high and that is what he did.

“The only thing missing was the finishing. We didn't work the goalkeeper as much as we should have.

"We kept knocking on the door. Our football was good. It was a disappointing result but a pleasing performance.”

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