‘This was different’ – Dean Smith on Aston Villa errors, dressing room mood & Arsenal penalty
Despite twice having held the lead after goals from John McGinn and Wesley Moraes, Villa lost 3-2 with mistakes costing the visitors dearly.
Here’s every word from the manager’s post-match press conference:
Same happened at Spurs?
“This was different to Spurs. I didn’t feel Arsenal were better than us today. I just think we gave them a helping hand. I felt we opened up gaps for them to exploit.
How disappointing is the result?
“There were periods in the second half where, just after we scored, let’s go on the front foot. For me, we should be on the front foot anyway. We go and get the second goal, great run by Jack and great run and touch by Wes. Then, I’m wanting them to go on the front foot. We jumped out at the wrong areas and lost out structure. We gave them a massive helping hands with the goals as well.
How’s Mings after error?
“He’s as disappointed as anybody in the dressing room, we should never have conceded three goals, they’ve had some chances. When you come to Arsenal you expect that. A lot of them were outside the penalty box. We had a good shape and structure about us defensibly but, at times, I just felt we let it become a little bit like a basketball game, going end to end.”
What did you make of Wesley’s performance?
“I thought he brought people into the game very well first half, scored a goal . I thought our structure was very good, we pressed with our wide players and Wesley and we gave them problems doing that. Second half our wide players dropped a little bit deeper and we jumped out of midfield and they popped it around us by doing that. I keep saying to the players, coming to places like this and having a go at the opposition. I thought you saw that in periods in the game. I feel we tried to hold onto the game and paid them a little bit too much respect – as opposed to being on the front foot.
Did you think it was a penalty?
“I saw Bjorn plant a leg which is what I don’t want. [Guendouzi] didn’t need much encouragement to go down. I didn’t have any complaints at the time.
“We gave three stupid goals away. We’ve planted a foot in the penalty box and I don’t think any player in this league needs much encouragement to go down. They get a penalty and we try and cushion a header in the six-yard box and they pounce and score when it should be going out for a corner. We then play a straight pass into midfield, they win it and break. The be all and end all, I felt at 1-0 and 2-1, there were periods where we tried to get the next goal but, on the whole, we tried to hold onto the lead rather than extend it. That was the difference, we could have extended the lead and won it comfortably.
“But, for whatever reasons at times in the second half, we retracted and, if you do that against good players they can cause you problems.”