Dean Smith post Norwich: 'Attitude, application and enthusiasm'
Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

A Jack Grealish inspired performance encouraged Aston Villa to claim only their fifth Premier League win this campaign.

Dean Smith's men have now completed the double over the Canaries this season - the first time Villa have beaten a team both home and away since 2014 - also coming against Norwich.

Grealish's control and composure inside the box worked a half yard for Conor Hourihane who without hesitation bent his shot inside the top corner of Tim Krul's net, in what was the only goal of the game.

Grealish's contribution


Smith spoke to SportsMole about his captains' influence on the game: 

"This is his highest goalscoring season of his career and he's starting to make a lot more assists now and he's doing it at the top table, so there's certainly more to come.

"He thrives on pressure though. I spoke to them before the game and I said we've actually put ourselves under more pressure with our recent performances.

"We lost one of our best players in John McGinn, but Jack showed what he is all about."

Tyrone Mings will be in contention to return to Smith's squad that hadn't coped without the defender or John McGinn until Norwich came to Villa Park.

Three key ingredients


Smith highlighted what he demanded from his team on Boxing Day.

"I asked for three things from the players which was attitude, application and enthusiasm and they gave me that. 

"They also showed a lot of character as well. We weren’t at our best by any means but what a result like that can do for people and the whole place can be massive for us. 

"It was a battle. It wasn’t going to be a pretty game. These are two teams who like to play good football but two teams who are struggling for results at the moment and scrapping for results. 

"Everything in this league you have to earn and we earned it today."

Heated affair


In the aftermath of Hourihane's third goal for the campaign, Smith's opposing manager Daniel Farke was shown a yellow card for dissent.

"I don't know what the actual debate was about. I thought it was our throw-in when Ezri kicked it out as our lad was running. 

"Elmo got the ball and there was a bit of an altercation between the two of them. 

"But there was a long way to go before we scored!"

Smith will take his Villa side to Vicarage Road on Saturday before ending the festive fixtures in Burnley on New Year's Day.