Dean Smith has kept with his tried and trusted 4-3-3 system for Aston Villa’s first three games back despite not picking up a much-needed win. Villa’s tactics have been questioned by the large majority of supporters given the club’s precarious Premier League position. Fans have been hoping to see Keinan Davis and Mbwana Samatta start together in attack – but Smith admits it’s difficult to do from the get-go. A winning goal didn’t materialise at St James’ Park and Smith has since given his reasoning as to why he’s in keeping with playing one striker from the start.
Dean Smith said “People keep talking about playing two up front but it’s very difficult to play two up front and keep Jack Grealish on the pitch, Jack’s one of our talisman so we worked a situation (at Newcastle) where Jack could play in behind Keinan and Ally. You have to be careful because there’s a big shift for the midfielders then. Their out ball will always be the full-backs. It’s funny, you put two up front and you go from back to front too quickly. I still thought we needed to go through our midfielders and, once we did that, we were much more of a threat. What we’ve got to do is convert our chances. The confidence hasn’t diminished. The dressing room’s a tight dressing room. I’m not a Villa fan, I’m the Villa manager at the moment. I try to lose that tag. I’m now the Villa head coach looking to win games to keep us in the Premier League. I was coming up against Nuno with Brentford in the Championship. Now, seeing what they’re doing in the Premier League is inspiring. They’ve done a fantastic job competing on all fronts, even in Europe this season. They have a realistic aim of being a top-six team now. They’ve done a fantastic job and credit must go to all of them.”