Despite making plenty of changes, Smith was impressed with those who stood in tonight for Villa:
Squad "passed the test":
“We changed 40% of our team tonight, our squad has been tested and they’ve passed with flying colours.”.
Grealish shines in the middle:
Captain Jack Grealish moved back in the middle of the park to make room for Anwar El Ghazi:
“Jack’s performances are what we’re accustomed to at Villa… we had to make a few changes; Jack managed to win the ball in between the lines tonight.”
Concussion substitutes a "no brainer":
When asked about the latest concussion ruling and five substitutes, Smith expressed his pleasure for concussion substitutes and shared his thoughts on the latest refusal of five subs:
“Concussion subs are a no brainer; we all want to protect the health and welfare of players”
“I was against the five substitute rule, we’ve already voted on that. We knew what we were signing up for this season, we knew the season would slightly be condensed anyways”.
Lacking a cutting edge:
Despite creating 27 chances tonight, Smith isn'y worried his side couldn't find the net tonight:
“We’re a team who are creating chances and look unlikely to concede in many games”.
Aston Villa travel to loal rivals West Brom on Sunday for their second West Midlands derby in a week.