Smith: No Blues stigma for Jota

By Phil Jennings

VILLA boss Dean Smith says Jota can cope with the fact that is one of the few players to cross the city from Blues.

When Smith signed the Spaniard from Birmingham this summer, it raised eyebrow.

Jota was the first player to move from St Andrew’s to Villa Park since Alan Curbishley did it in the early 1980s.

But Smith knew the winger from Brentford and was convinced he could do a job for him in the Premier League.

And he was proved right as Jota starred on his full Villa debut against Everton – making the opening goal for record signing Wesley.

Smith told reporters after the game: “Friday was the first start that he’s had but him and Frederic Guilbert have been excellent in pre-season – but I also wanted the players who had got us promoted got a fair chance as well.

“Neil Taylor is keeping Matt Targett out of the team at the moment. Ahmed Elmohamady was good against Tottenham and was okay against Bournemouth and with the squad we have built up I think you have to be better than okay to keep the shirt.

“Jota can handle it and he can handle the city divide. The Spanish in him probably doesn’t realise how big that divide is but he is a super person and a wonderful technical footballer as well.”

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