By Graham Hill
NEIL Taylor believes Villa revived their play-off hopes when they stopped leaking goals.
Dean Smith’s side conceded too easily during a winter spell that threatened to write off their promotion hopes.
But the arrival of Tyrone Mings on loan from Bournemouth has made Villa a more solid proposition at the back.
And in their unbeaten run of 12 games, which started at Stoke in February, Villa have let in only seven goals – including there controversial opener at Leeds on Sunday.
Full-back Taylor says that is the foundation of their run to the end of season play-offs.
He said: “The reasons are all about belief.
“But, as a team, we defend a lot better.
“We’re set up to win the ball higher up the pitch and win the ball quicker on turnovers.
“That makes a big difference to how you defend as a team.
“Obviously we made great additions, the likes of Tyrone, and they’ve made a big difference to the team.
“Jack Grealish coming back, everyone talks about that, but he’s the best player in the League and is going to make a difference.
“For me personally, I think as a team we have defended loads better. If you look at Jed Steer, how many big saves does he have to make every game? Fingers crossed, it’s not too many.”
Villa have used five different centre-back pairings in their unbeaten run.
That would disrupt most teams, but Villa’s players have adapted whenever called on.Taylor added: “That shows you how well people have done.
“Jed’s come in as goalkeeper, the third or fourth who’s played this season. You have to be ready. That’s the Championship.
“There are so many games and injuries will happen. It takes the entire squad. I wouldn’t like to be the manager, picking the team come the play-offs when hopefully everyone’s fit. But it is a nice problem to have.”