‘A concern? No’ The Dean Smith transcript as Aston Villa held to draw with 10-man West Ham United
Hammers left-back Arthur Masuaku was shown a red card after picking up his second yellow on 67 minutes.
Dean Smith’s side, though, were wasteful throughout in the final third after starting the game very much on the front foot.
Brazilian striker Wesley sent a powerful, stooping header over the bar in the first period in what was arguably Villa’s biggest chance of the game.
Late on, West Ham were dangerous on the break but, thanks to Villa’s brave and bold back line, the Hammers were kept out as both sides claimed a point and a clean sheet apiece.
The first period was somewhat marred by Anwar El Ghazi and Tyrone Mings clashing, the former shoving his head into Mings before a VAR check ruled it not severe enough to be punished.
Below, Smith spoke to media after the match on that incident, answered questions about Villa’s firepower and gave his verdict on Premier League debutant Marvelous Nakamba.
FRUSTRATIONS AT FINAL WHISTLE
“When a team goes down to 10 men, you feel you’d want to use the extra man a little bit better than we did tonight.
“The plus side, for me, is 11vs11 we was the better team. They’ve got a front four who will score goals against anyone. I don’t remember Tom Heaton making a save. That was a positive, we created the bigger chances. In all honesty, I thought it was a 0-0, fairly end-to-end.
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“The disappointing part is you’ve played 23-24 minutes with 10 men and we didn’t use our extra man well enough. I thought we lost a bit of emotional control, lost our structure. Players giving sloppy passes away. Players trying to do it all themselves a little bit rather than pass it quicker and draw people out. We didn’t do that.”
EL GHAZI’S RED MIST
“I didn’t need to [intervene], the players dealt with it. That’s the group of players I’ve got. There’s a great togetherness and team spirit in the dressing room. Looking at it, he went over the edge a little but I’m happy for the players to do that. It was a bit of a heat of the moment, that will happen. That’s the end of it. It got dealt with very quickly, it’s a team sport. It happens. At half time they shook hands and did their best for their teammates in the second half.
“No it’s not a concern. [El Ghazi] has got a little bit of red mist in him like most professional players have.”
FINAL THIRD DISAPPOINTMENT
“Listen, against Crystal Palace we didn’t even create chances in the final third until the last minute. There was an improvement on that. We didn’t take the big moments we had. Is it a concern? No. I’d be more concerned had we not created chances. West Ham will probably finish in the top 10.”
“I thought for 65 minutes he used the ball well, broke it up. He tired which is understandable. It’s his first game in the Premier League, I’ve got a lot of new players, some of them have only played three or four games at this level. The running stats are through the roof. I can’t question my players’ attitude or effort, they’re certainly giving that. They’ve ran further and faster than West Ham but haven’t taken their chances. We should have used our brains a bit better when we had a man advantage.”
“I thought he was OK tonight. His final ball or final delivery wasn’t what we expected of him. But, then again, he created a good chance for Wesley. I said to them, they’re all responsible for their own performance because that’s what they can control. They’ve given a lot of effort but it’s just that quality which was lacking from all of us – in the last 20 especially.