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The big Chelsea transfer question & John McGinns re-emergence – Dean Smiths Aston Villa transcript – Birmingham Live

Dean Smith was in fine form after Aston Villa romped to a rare 3-0 victory on the road last night at Fulham.

Jack Grealish struck just four minutes in before Conor Hourihane added a well-taken second 15 minutes into proceedings.

Tyrone Mings got in on the act just after half-time, sweeping home Hourihane’s whipped delivery.

The win made it two from two in the Premier League while Villa are yet to concede in 180 minutes of football. Their unbeaten run in the Premier League now stretches to six, which stems back to beating Palace 2-0 in last term’s Project Restart.

After Villa’s first away-day victory since New Year’s Day, here’s what head coach Smith had to say, including addressing recent reports linking Villa with loan swoops for Chelsea duo, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

A good win and your first away clean sheet in 27 matches…

Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings (right) celebrates scoring his side’s third goal in a 3-0 win at Fulham
(Image: Will Oliver/NMC Pool/PA Wire)

 

“It’s really pleasing. A good all-round performance, we’ve got the balance just right at the moment. We’ve got some good quality going forward and there’s a real desire to keep the ball out of the back of the net at the moment which is really pleasing.”

What pleased you the most?

“The balance between defence and attack. It’s something that’s very hard to get right in football. Before lockdown we were guilty of being gung-ho trying to win games. After lockdown we defended deeper and in numbers.

“What pleased me the most was the balance between defending and attacking. We scored some good goals and we showed resilience to keep a clean sheet.”

You’ve got a solid spine, the usual suspects coming to the fore…

Tyrone Mings celebrates with teammates after scoring
(Image: Getty Images)

 

“It was an all-together team performance. There wasn’t anybody who shirked a challenge. It was really pleasing to get JJ (Jacob Ramsey) on as well. He earned his chance with his performance at Bristol City to make his Premier League debut and he got a round of applause by the players.”

No goal for Ollie Watkins perhaps the only blot…

Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins and Fulham’s Denis Odoi (right) battle for the ball
(Image: PA)

 

“It’s disappointing but he gives us another dimension. The players really appreciate his effort and the work-rate he puts into his performances.

“He certainly stretches the game for us and his non-stop work rate, effort and quality he has. He’s got some good link-up play working now with the midfielders and Jack Grealish now as well.”

It’s a great start, what can you achieve?

“Just try and win the next game. That’s all we can do. We’re not building up too many expectations. We weren’t satisfied with finishing 17th last season. We want to be better. We need to keep working hard and keep putting in performances in like tonight.”

Any interest in Ross Barkley or Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan prior to next week’s deadline?

Both Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley have been linked with Aston Villa.
(Image: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

 

“We will be talking to a lot of football clubs about players all the time because it’s something we have to monitor because we want to improve our squad.”

John McGinn’s back to his best…

John McGinn of Aston Villa goes down after a tackle by Ivan Cavaleiro of Fulham
(Image: Getty Images)

 

“I said before the season started he played against Manchester United in a friendly and I thought we’d got John McGinn back.

“After Project Restart he was regaining his fitness. He played well at Liverpool and was our best player at West Ham on the last day of last season.

“Today, I thought he was excellent which is why so many people were talking about him last season. He’s got a big heart and he’s a big character in our dressing room.”

England squad announced on Thursday, Jack Grealish can’t do much more, can he?

Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish scores his side’s first goal
(Image: PA)

 

“It will be Gareth’s decision. Jack can’t do any more, certainly based off the first half (vs Fulham) as well.

“Not just the goal and the assist for the second goal, defensively as well. His reactions to defend and win the ball back were excellent. That’s something he’s added to his game as well as breaking through the way he did for his goal.”

What do you need to work on?

“I knew we would come here against a Fulham team who passed their way to the Premier League. We wouldn’t have the lion’s share of the ball. We had to pick when to press.

“If I’m being picky, I was disappointed with the amount of shots they had on our goal today (16, three on target). Saying that, our two centre-halves defended really, really well.

“We allowed them to spill out on the edge of our box a little bit too much but they didn’t have massive chances. That’s credit to the defensive display.”

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