The 26-year-old’s strike earned Villa a 2-1 win at Goodison Park on Saturday and took his goal tally in the Premier League this season to eight, making him the club’s second top scorer behind 13-goal frontman Ollie Watkins.
But nearly half of El Ghazi’s 23 top-flight appearances this term have been off the bench with fluctuating form meaning he has struggled to maintain a permanent place in Smith’s starting XI.
The boss said: “We keep talking to him about that drive and making sure he is consistent in his performance.
“I thought he played well against West Brom and he did again at Everton. He has certainly got a lot of quality, technically. He is a delight to work with.”
Smith has no issues with El Ghazi’s dedication on the training ground and his winner at the weekend, when he fired into the top corner from outside the box, was testament to the shooting drills at Bodymoor Heath.“I love to shoot and I do this quite often in training,” explained El Ghazi. “Ezri Konsa told me before the game ‘when you come inside, shoot like you always do in training, in the top corners’.
“So I’m glad it happened and we took the three points.”
He added: “To be honest, nine out of 10 times, in training, it’s a goal. So, if you practice a lot, it becomes a habit and I’m happy that it went in.”