'We were lucky to get away with 3-0,' admits frustrated Aston Villa boss Dean Smith after Leeds United battering

Frustrated Aston Villa boss Dean Smith admits his side were lucky not to suffer a heavier defeat than the 3-0 beating Leeds United inflicted on them tonight at Villa Park.

Saturday, 24th October 2020, 4:05 pm
FRUSTRATED - Aston Villa boss Dean Smith wasn't happy with his side's second half performance but credited Leeds United for their display. Pic: Getty

The Villains were the pre-game favourites, having won each of their first four Premier League games this season, beating champions Liverpool 7-2 along the way.

Leeds were without key duo Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips but took full control after Bamford's second-half opener and the striker added two more goals to complete what was a very comfortable night in the end for the visitors.

"I was frustrated with the second half performance," said Smith.

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"It was even stevens at half time, we know they're a good team and they're going to create opportunities. Games change on big moments, their keeper makes a good save and two minutes later they go and score. That changed the game, that first goal, they gained a yard and we lost a yard. I was frustrated with our reaction to their first goal, they looked a good team after that and we didn't. We were lucky to get away with a three niller."

Smith told his men at full-time of his frustration with their reaction to going behind, but pointed out that they hadn't experienced it this season until tonight and credited Bielsa's men for their second half display.

"You have to give credit to Leeds," he said.

"They were excellent with their first touch passing and their running. They comfortably beat us in the second half.

"After that first goal we felt sorry for ourselves.

"You can get a bop on the nose if you're not at it and we got that in the second half for sure."

Leeds felt fortunate to be able to substitute Pascal Struijk on 21 minutes because the Dutchman, playing in place of the injured Phillips, could well have been sent off. He followed up a yellow card for a foul on Jack Grealish with another tackle that Bielsa deemed 'dangerous' and had to be replaced with Jamie Shackleton.

That and a VAR check that ruled Grealish had not been fouled in the penalty area by Helder Costa were the main talking points of the first half but Smith had little to say on either.

"Someone mentioned that [Struijk] incident to me earlier but I've no idea. I saw them taking him off, I'd no idea he'd made a foul that should have been a second yellow so no comment on that unfortunately.

"Mike Dean told me there's contact [from Costa] and if there was contact it should have been a penalty but it wasn't given."