Belfast Telegraph

Smith defends Villa after latest lost leads

The Premier League newcomers have led twice in each of their last two games but taken only one point.

Dean Smith, left, and Sean Dyche had to settle for a point apiece (Nick Potts/PA)
Dean Smith, left, and Sean Dyche had to settle for a point apiece (Nick Potts/PA)

By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith insists there is no mental block for his players when they hit the front after they twice lost the lead to be held to a draw at home to Burnley.

The hosts, who also led twice at Arsenal last week before succumbing to defeat, thought they were heading for a vital three points when John McGinn scored his third of the season in the closing stages – only for Chris Wood to level moments later to secure a 2-2 draw for Sean Dyche’s side.

Anwar El Ghazi had given Villa the half-time lead after McGinn had earlier seen an effort chalked off by the video assistant referee, with Burnley substitute Jay Rodriguez equalising with his first Premier League goal since April 2018.

Villa remain in the bottom three having now lost eight points from winning positions already this season – although Smith does not feel that would be playing on the minds of his team.

“There is no mental block, that is for sure, we have dominated a team that some struggle to play against,” he said.

“There is a confidence and belief in the players, even after their second equaliser there was only one team who were going to get the second goal.

“The second goal is definitely a lapse in concentration, they kicked off and we went to press them but didn’t get tight enough.

“I think Burnley will go home with what they came for, we saw from the first minute how long it took them to take goal-kicks, they wanted to stop our rhythm. If there was one team who were going to win it, it was going to be us.”

Burnley boss Sean Dyche felt the draw was a fair result as his side collected their third straight away draw.

“It was a tight game as a lot of games are in the Premier League,” he said.

“Both sides found their moments of quality to affect the game, four goals from four crosses, four quality goals.

“It was a bit of a ding-dong I though really, they started with energy and saw it as, not a must-win, but an important game and I can see why.

“I was pleased with a point. Overall, it was a well-earned point. Both sides were trying to win, credit to them it is very difficult in your first season (after promotion), learning it and understanding it.”

PA

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