By Graham Hill
JACK GREALISH says it was ‘set up’ for him to score the winner against Blues after he was attacked by a supporter who invaded the pitch.
The Villa skipper crowned a day that was both traumatic and jubilant by scoring in the second half to seal the points.
It was an incredible game centred on one man who was the victim of a mindless and cowardly assault.
Grealish – in true superhero fashion – carried on playing his normal and ended up scoring the only goal of the game.
He also earned respect for not reacting to the punch which was delivered from behind to an unsuspecting Grealish.
Afterwards, Grealish told Sky Sports that he was overjoyed to captain a Villa side to victory at Blues while wearing the captain’s armband.
He made it clear he wanted to be remembered for his display as a player.
But he was quick to condemn the actions of the pitch invader.
Grealish said: “It was the best day of my life.
“To come here as captain and score the winner is what dreams are made of, especially as I’m a Villa fan.
“I was unaware of what happened earlier at the time, I think we had a corner or a throw in and I was walking into position, I felt a whack around the side of the face.
“I know there’s rivalry in football but I don’t think there’s any place for that.
“I just tried to get on with my job in the end, which I think I did by scoring the winner.
“That was unbelievable in front of our fans to get the winner in front of our fans.
“I think it was set up for it. Captaining the club was something I’ve dreamed of since I was a little kid.”
Grealish is also saying he is getting stronger after his return from a three-month injury lay off.
He added: “I got 70 minutes last week, 80 here and now the manager wants me to get 90. I keep cramping up a bit but in the last three months I haven’t really trained much.
“I’ve been thrown back in but I’m loving every minute of it now. I hope I can give them all a lift, to score twice in this fixture this season has been lovely.”