Smith sees positives in Villa's Anfield defeat

06 July 2020 19:23:33 GMTPlus10

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith admitted he was disappointed with the 2-0 defeat at Liverpool but pleased with the Anfield performance as his side battle to avoid Premier League relegation.

The result leaves Villa in the bottom three, one point adrift of safety with five matches remaining of the campaign, although for large spells on Merseyside it looked as if Smith's side would claim an unlikely draw against the champions.

Sadio Mane eventually claimed the breakthrough with 19 minutes remaining and substitute Curtis Jones made the margin of victory more flattering by doubling Liverpool's advantage at the death, although Villa had more efforts at goal than the Reds which at least bodes well for the run-in.

Villa host Manchester United and Crystal Palace in their next two matches before travelling to Merseyside again, this time across Stanley Park to take on Everton.

Arsenal at home is Villa's penultimate fixture before a potential relegation decider at drop-zone rivals West Ham on the final day of the Premier League season.

Villa have collected only two points from the last 27 available, but Smith was keen to take the positives of the display against a side 23 points clear at the summit.

Smith told Villa's official website: "My reaction is one of disappointment. We're scrapping for points and running out of games.

"I'm pleased with the performance, attitude and work-rate of the players.

"I fully believe in this group of players and they put in a performance today that they can take heart from. They need to maintain the standards that we're setting."

Villa are 8.50 to beat Manchester United on Thursday with the Red Devils at 1.33 and the draw is 5.50. Villa are 3.00 to be relegated with Watford 1.28 and West Ham 751.00.

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