Aston Villa must stay upbeat ahead of Sheffield United trip says Dean Smith
Last Updated: 13/12/19 11:49am
Dean Smith is adamant it is "not all doom and gloom" at Aston Villa despite a run of results that have left the club hovering above the Premier League's bottom three.
Villa have taken just four points from their last seven matches, suffering five defeats along the way albeit against sides currently in the top six in Liverpool, Leicester, Manchester City, Chelsea and Wolves.
Boss Smith concedes last weekend's 4-1 loss at home to Leicester "probably knocked the lads back a bit", although he is confident that has been addressed following a debrief on Tuesday.
"We reflected on it, we reviewed it, and we spoke about what's expected, and for me, there was a lot of frustration shown with the players," said Smith.
"But then I reminded them that two games prior to that everything was rosy after we comfortably beat Newcastle (2-0) at Villa Park and drew 2-2 at Manchester United, a game we should have won.
"We then played two of the top four teams. We were narrowly beaten by Chelsea 2-1 on the night and we were pushing for an equaliser in the last 10 minutes, and lost to a team (Leicester) six points clear of Manchester City, who are highly acclaimed in Europe, not just the Premier League.
"So it's not all doom and gloom. Sometimes you have to put it all into a bit of perspective and we've certainly done that.
"There are lot of things we've learned from the last two performances and results against Chelsea and Leicester. We are learning all the time in this league, so what we have to do now is progress."
Although Smith claims he is unconcerned at his team's position in the league, he is aware Villa have to tighten up at the back after keeping just one clean sheet in the last 11 league matches, and three overall this season.
"We've got to be tougher to beat," insisted Smith. "I've felt that in the last two games we've given Chelsea and Leicester too many big chances.
"A little bit has been through naivety, a little bit through positioning but we've had a good review and reflection on that.
"The players spoke at length about what they feel they need to get better at, and we will certainly take that into the game."
Holding up the Blades as a shining example of what can be achieved, Smith added: "They've become a lot harder to beat than we have and that's the one area where I feel we need to improve on."
Smith's defensive concerns are added to by the fact centre-back Tyrone Mings misses the trip to Bramall Lane with a hamstring injury, although left-back Matt Targett is available after limping out of the defeat to Leicester with a knock.