Dean: How I’ll handle second leg

By Phil Jennings

DEAN Smith admits his biggest task will be keeping his Villa players grounded at West Brom.

Villa are a potential 90 minutes from Wembley as they prepare for the second leg of their Play-off semi-final against West Brom.

And they are clear favourites to go though to the final as they prepare for their short trip to The Hawthorns.

With Albion missing suspended danger man Dwight Gayle, Villa have been handed another advantage to add to their 2-1 lead.

Gayle’s red card at Villa Park is considered a huge factor when it comes to the return fixture

But Smith has never been one to make forecasts – and he is not about to start now.

However, he says that if Villa up their game from Saturday – which they have to do – then they will cause the Baggies problems.

The Villa boss told reporters: “The players will know from me and the staff that nothing is over.

“We’ve got to go there and put in a really good performance.

“I didn’t feel it was a good display on Saturday. I felt there were a few players who performed below their normal standards. But if we play to our normal standards we’ll be a right threat.

“We don’t want to manage the lead, we want another win, because that guarantees you’ll go through.

“We’re not even thinking about Wembley. We’ve got another tough game. That was a tough game on Saturday against a good West Brom team.

“They made it very difficult for us to create clear-cut chances. We’ve just got to concentrate on he second leg and then look ahead to the final if we get there.”
But Smith knows that Grealish is likely to be targeted again at Albion.

Smith continued: “It was tough for Jack on Saturday because whenever he got the ball he had four or five West Brom players in front of him.

“They camped on the edge of their box and made it difficult for us, but quality players come through at the end.”

Anwar El Ghazi could be another threat although he admitted the Holland winger has been observing Ramadan.

Smith added: “He’s not eating in daylight hours. We’ve got a good performance team managing the times he sleeps and the times he eats. He was tired at the end.

“Tyrone Mings had a tight hamstring, but the way I saw him jump over the advertising boards at the end to give a fan a cuddle, he looks all right to me!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s