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Dean Smith rues major aspect of Villa play that dropped in Palace loss

Dean Smith was disappointed with how the intensity in his Aston Villa dropped in the second half of their loss at Crystal Palace.

Palace twice came from behind to beat Villa 3-2 on Sunday. Villa took the lead through John McGinn, only for the Eagles to draw level through the in-form Christian Benteke. Anwar El Ghazi restored the visitors’ lead before late strikes from Wilfried Zaha and Tyrick Mitchell earned Palace all three points.

Speaking after the game Smith told BBC Sport: “I thought we looked a really good team first half today. We were unfortunate not to go in more than a goal to the good.

“They counter-pressed us better in the second half and we lacked the intensity we had in the first half.

“They were aggressive and we never really dealt with the ball as well as we did in the first half. It became more of a scrappy game and we’re frustrated with the goals they did score.”

More Grealish game time

As for Villa’s hopes of finishing in the top half of the table, Smith added: “It certainly hits our hopes, we’re four points behind Leeds United and we just have to finish well.”

Jack Grealish got some minutes under his belt again, having missed 12 matches with a shin injury, and Smith admitted he hopes to give the England man more game time in the remaining games.

He added: “I’m hopeful. He’s pushing, he’s had no reaction in his first game or today so he’s building those minutes.”

REPORT: Crystal Palace hit back to stun Aston Villa in topsy-turvy Selhurst Park clash


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