Dean Smith confident Aston Villa can bounce back from 3-0 defeat to Leeds United; Smith says Villa can't go on similar winning runs to Man City and Liverpool; "We've had a poor 40 minutes this season so far and I'll certainly take that after the first five games."
Friday 30 October 2020 12:59, UK
Dean Smith is confident Aston Villa can bounce back from their humbling defeat to Leeds after their best start to a season since 1930, but says his side must improve on their 17th-place finish last term.
Against Leeds, Villa were chasing a piece of club history, having never won their opening five league games of a season.
Maintaining their 100 per cent record would have also seen Smith's side go top of the Premier League table for the first time since October 2001 but it was not to be as they were comfortably beaten 3-0 by Marcelo Bielsa's men.
Smith is expecting a reaction when his team return to action against Southampton at Villa Park on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
"There was no getting high and no getting low. We haven't been too high after the four straight wins at the start of the season and we won't get too low over a poor 40 minutes," Smith said.
"We're not at a level Manchester City or Liverpool are at by any means, so we're going to lose games. Up until (Leeds) scored the goal we had the better chances.
"We've had a poor 40 minutes this season so far and I'll certainly take that after the first five games. I've got a good idea of how these players will react because I've been with them for a long time now. I know their character.
We're not at a level Manchester City or Liverpool are at by any means, so we're going to lose games. Up until (Leeds) scored the goal we had the better chances.
"They were disappointed that we went away from our game plan against Leeds. It's just about getting back on the pitch and performing.
"I'm sure our players would have liked a game a lot sooner to put it right, but we've managed to have eight days to rectify mistakes and work on a tactical plan for Southampton."
Villa did not pass the 12-point mark until the 13th game of last season, when they avoided relegation by a single point, helped by a goalline technology fault which let them secure a draw at Sheffield United when the league restarted.
A point against Saints would take Villa on to 13 points already this time round, and Smith said: "It's about improvement. Last season was always going to be tough bringing in 13 new players. Survival was the aim last season.
"Nobody at the football club was happy finishing 17th. Our ambition is to improve on last season. We've had a good start but there's a lot of realism around the football club and it's small steps at a time."
Smith has an unchanged squad for Sunday's game. Bertrand Traore, Ahmed Elmohamad and Conor Hourihane are available as options if Smith wants to freshen up his starting line-up.