Dean Smith: Palace win has given Aston Villa a new belief
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Last Updated: 15/07/20 1:35pm
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith feels his side's win against Crystal Palace will give them a new wave of belief in their relegation fight.
Villa had been without a win since the Premier League returned after the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, but ended that barren streak with a 2-0 triumph over Crystal Palace on Sunday.
That win, secured through a Trezeguet double, was especially important as victories for West Ham, Bournemouth and Watford mean just six points separate five teams in the bid to avoid joining Norwich in the Championship next season.
"It's been hard for the players to maintain that belief when they've put in some really good performances and not quite got the rub of the green," said Smith, whose team play at Everton on Thursday night (6pm kick-off, live on Sky Sports Main Event.
"So it was nice to get that victory and it was a well-deserved victory too. Hopefully we will take a lot from that. Something had to change for us and thankfully it did against Palace.
"We felt we were really competitive in that game and we'll be really competitive against Everton. The lads will have to do that again but getting that win has given everyone a lift."
Villa are four points off safety and will possibly need to win all three of their remaining fixtures if they are to secure their Premier League status for next season.
Smith accepts such a situation can undoubtedly be categorised as 'high pressure' but feels his players have the mental strength to cope with such a scenario, having excelled in a similar position last season.
"The players have all played under pressure before so they know what it's about and we've got quite a lot of the players who were in the play-off winning team last year back now," he said.
"They know what the pressure is like of playing in those types of games where the pressure is really on.
"This is tournament football now and we've got the players who can handle the pressure of tournament football."
O'Neill fears Villa are running out of games
Former Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill is concerned time is running out for the side to avoid relegation.
"With that victory the other day if they had maybe another six or seven games left then I think that could be a massive turning point, a big victory," O'Neill told Sky Sports News.
"Any victory is big and the three points but it's just the number of games left that makes it fraught with difficulty.
"Villa know what they have to do to get out, they have to win their matches, they really have to win their games.
"They were on the front foot against Crystal Palace, they avoided the possibility of a goal against them early on, they had a bit of luck with VAR.
"They came through that game and won the match. That first victory is very, very important and they have definitely given themselves a chance.
"It's just the running out of games is something that is naturally a problem."