EPL

Villa boss Smith not content with 'valiant loser' tag

By Sports Desk July 05, 2020

Dean Smith took scant consolation from pushing Premier League champions Liverpool close after Aston Villa fell to a 2-0 defeat, insisting he had no love for the "valiant loser" tag.

The Villa boss set his side up to defend at Anfield and the visitors did frustrate the home side until Sadio Mane's 71st-minute opener.

Curtis Jones doubled the Reds' lead late on as Villa's winless run in the league was extended to nine games on Sunday.

Smith noted that his side had more shots than Jurgen Klopp's men, who lost their previous game 4-0 to Manchester City, but still the overwhelming feeling was one of disappointment.

"I don't want to be a valiant loser, we're scrapping for points," Smith told Sky Sports.

"To out-shoot Liverpool at home at Anfield, in terms of efforts on goal, it's excellent – but we need to take our opportunities. We never found the quality in the final third, they did.

"Was it the best time to come to Anfield? Jurgen Klopp teams don't take their foot off the gas, I don't thank him for bringing the three subs on, that strengthened them but we were in the game the whole way through.

"Unfortunately they beat our press with their quality in the end."

Next up for Villa is Thursday's visit of a buoyant Manchester United, who put five past Bournemouth on Saturday.

With his side still occupying the relegation zone, Smith knows the route to safety will be a difficult one.

"It's a tough task but we're still in it that's for sure," he said. "Our performances since the restart haven't got the results they deserved. We have got to make the most of our chances.

"We need to keep the belief in the dressing room, it's some achievement to come here and play as we did but we have to maintain the belief. I thought we more than matched them."

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