Sheffield United: Aston Villa manager Dean Smith hails The Blades

Dean Smith, the Aston Villa manager, confessed Sheffield United “deserved” to beat his side at Bramall Lane because they demonstrated greater conviction going forward.

Sunday, 15th December 2019, 11:54 am
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith admitted Sheffield United deserved to beat his team at Bramall Lane: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Smith, whose team has now lost its last three Premier League games, admitted he instructed his players to stifle the match after predicting Chris Wilder would urge United to “come bursting out of the blocks.”

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But Smith was critical of Villa’s work in possession, saying: “I think they deserved to win the game, because they were more enterprising going forward. I’m annoyed because we are better than we showed, certainly with the ball. I thought we showed some good defensive discipline, especially with the shape. But goals change games, don’t they.”

John Fleck scored twice for United in the second-half before Jack Grealish, the Villa captain, missed a penalty when John Egan was adjudged to have handled the ball following a VAR review.

“To be honest, I didn’t think it was a decent first-half,” Smith added. “Defensively, we were okay. But I don’t think we managed the ball well enough. We knew they would come flying out, we frustrated them. With the cultured players we’ve got, we should have managed the ball better going forward. We wanted the same going forward.”