Danny Murphy sympathises with the demands placed on Dean Smith and his squad but says the Aston Villa manager must avoid ‘making excuses’ if the club is to win its fight for Premier League survival. Speaking after his side lost 1-0 to Wolves on Saturday, Smith branded Villa’s fixture list as ‘ridiculous’ pointing out that they had played more games than their rivals at the foot of the table. Villa has played four times, losing to Wolves and Chelsea and drawing with Newcastle and Sheffield United – and Murphy gave a bleak account of their prospects.
Danny Murphy said “He knew it was coming, the extra game wasn’t ideal for him because they were a game behind – the Sheffield United game, I do take his point and when you have not got the squad of the top five or six, you are then asking players to do a lot. Four games in 11 after being off is tough going. I watched three of those games, there wasn’t much rotation, with what they spent and how many signings they made in the summer I would expect him to be able to rotate players a little bit more and not worry about the level of performance. Otherwise, what’s the recruitment been doing? Also I would have to question the tactical approach in some of those games. Chelsea I understand, they are playing against a good side with Chelsea – they had to be on the defensive otherwise they would have got battered. Chelsea were too good for them. So you take that game out of it, against really good opposition and a team playing well. The Wolves game and the Newcastle game, probably only 20 minutes in those two games where they had a good go. They had a go up at Newcastle and looked for the first time since they came back as though they could make something, they could have won it in the end. But at home against Wolves I think they set up too negatively. Although Wolves are a good side they lacked belief, which can happen, they lacked a bit of energy and fitness for me, which is probably to do with the four games in 11, I understand that. I just don’t think they have got enough quality in truth. So I fear for them as well.”
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