Aston Villa boss Dean Smith targets top two after pulsating derby win over Birmingham
By PA sport
Last Updated: 25/11/18 5:44pm
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith feels his side are ready to chase down the top two after a thrilling win over Birmingham City.
Smith, a boyhood Villa fan, masterminded a 4-2 victory in the second city derby on Sunday as his side climbed to eighth in the Sky Bet Championship.
Alan Hutton's excellent solo goal, where he ran 60 yards and held off four challenges to score just his third Villa goal in seven years, sealed the win.
Jonathan Kodjia and Jack Grealish cancelled out Lukas Jutkiewicz's first-half opener and Tammy Abraham's penalty made it 3-1 just after half time.
Kristian Pedersen pulled a goal back for Blues before Hutton's strike and Villa are now seven points behind the automatic promotion spots after three straight wins.
"I always see these games as opportunities and I think the players are now too. We have played some good football at times and look a threat but we just need to tidy up a little," Smith said.
"Our aim is to get into the top two, that was it at the start and where we are now.
"We've won three games on the spin and this group of players know how to win as they did it enough times last season. We just have to keep that belief going.
"Under Steve (Bruce) Villa were good here, not many teams won here, and hopefully that can continue."
Che Adams hit the post with Birmingham 1-0 up and within four minutes Villa were 2-1 ahead, with Smith conceding it was a game-changing moment.
"When Adams hit the post it tuned our players and we moved the ball a lot quicker," he said.
"It was a game I wasn't enjoying for the first 30 minutes because we didn't play well enough but the lads took responsibility.
"It was a fantastic win, we sent a lot of people home happy and I have a lot of family and friends who are Villa fans."