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Dean Smith: Dropping Tyrone Mings was a big call

Dean Smith claimed attempting to deal with West Ham’s set-piece prowess was behind his decision to drop skipper Tyrone Mings.

Aston Villa's Tyrone Mings (left) is given the captain's armband
Aston Villa's Tyrone Mings (left) is given the captain's armband

The England international was left out when healthy for the first time since joining Villa in 2019 and replaced by Kortney Hause in the starting XI for yesterday’s visit of the Hammers. But the decision, one of the biggest of Smith’s Villa tenure, did not pay dividends as the visitors ran out 4-1 winners.

Mings was on the pitch when David Moyes’ team scored their final two goals, having replaced Emi Buendia after Ezri Konsa’s 53rd minute sending-off.

Smith said: “There is a big call whenever you are selecting the team. We changed system and went with a back four.

“They are very powerful from set pieces and Kortney is very good from them. Tyrone has probably not been playing at the top of his game.

“I made football decisions. Some players were not available to us, hence Leon Bailey starting. He still needs minutes under his belt. Tyrone took it like a professional, like I expected him too.”

Villa were without Danny Ings and Douglas Luiz, with Smith revealing both had soft tissue injuries. The hosts were also without several players for Covid-related reasons.

Despite Villa falling to a fourth straight defeat and their sixth in 10 Premier League matches, Smith found some positives.

He explained: “I saw a lot of character from my players. There are reasons why we have the results we have. Sometimes we have not played well enough, such as the first half at Watford and at Arsenal but I am confident we can turn it around with the squad we have.”

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