Smith: Leicester were ‘hanging on’ but Villa still ‘missed’ Grealish

Dean Smith suggested that Aston Villa’s loss to Leicester City was “a game of two halves” as goals from James Maddison and Harvey Barnes won it.

Leicester started well as they made Villa chase the game after netting twice in the space of four minutes in the first half.

Maddison got the first with a fine strike from the edge of the area. Barnes made it two from close range after Emiliano Martinez had saved Jamie Vardy’s initial strike.

Villa got themselves back into the game shortly after the restart. Kasper Schmeichel came out to meet John McGinn’s cross but Bertrand Traore got there first to knock it in past the ‘keeper.

Smith’s side were unable to forge an equaliser as it finished 2-1 to the visitors. They are now winless in two games with this defeat coming after their 0-0 draw against Brighton.

The Villans remain in eighth spot in the Premier League. They still have two games in hand over most of the teams above them.

Villa were without Jack Grealish for this game and speaking post-match, as cited by BBC Sport, Smith insisted that any team would miss a player of his quality:

“It was a game of two halves. They started well, were aggressive and we played in front of them. We had to stretch the game and we did that in the second half.

“We never went anywhere with the ball in the first half, didn’t put any balls in behind. In the second half we played in their half which is what we had to do. They were hanging on at the end to get the win.

“You are always going to miss a top-class player, take Jack Grealish out of any team and you’d miss him but the XI that was out there was good enough to win.

“We created chances, got in good areas, we have players who can score goals.”

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