Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has issued a rallying cry to his fringe players ahead of tonight’s televised clash with Queens Park Rangers, as reported by Birmingham Live.
Newly-appointed Smith’s reign was kickstarted win a win over Swansea City last Saturday but the Villains were condemned to defeat by Norwich City on Tuesday night.
The former Brentford boss has been tasked with reversing the club’s fortunes and claims that if he is to do so, the fringe players at Villa Park must start making more of an impact:
“The Swansea game we were very good first half but the last 20 minutes was a concern because the substitutes didn’t perform as well as I would have hoped.
“That’s something I have spoke to the squad about. When subs come on they have got to be making an impact.
“Players have gone out there for 65/70 minutes giving their all, then you want a boost from the subs who come on. I don’t think we’ve had that so far. It’s a requirement here.
“Tuesday was different. I thought we finished well. Jack Grealish took the game to them and I don’t think anybody can question the fitness or drop of levels in the second half of that game.”
Republic of Ireland international Scott Hogan felt that he wasn’t handled correctly under Steve Bruce and will have been pleased to see Smith, who he worked under at Brentford, take over. He made his first appearance under Smith on Tuesday but the manager claimed that in hindsight, Jonathan Kodjia would have been a better option to bring off the bench:
“In hindsight, we put him (Scott Hogan) on for the right reasons but we didn’t get enough service into him.
“We played high but never really got down the sides of their centre backs. Scotty made some clever runs that we didn’t quite see.
“But looking back, maybe Jonathan Kodjia was the better fit to go in and play there given the way the game panned out.”
Villa take on Steve McClaren’s QPR tonight, a side that haven’t been beaten in nearly a month. The Hoops brushed Sheffield Wednesday aside with ease in midweek but Smith is hoping to put them to the sword if his side take control of the game:
“You’ve got to blast teams away when you’re on top. When you’re doing well for 40 minutes you need to take your chances. But I’m yet to see many games apart from Barcelona and Man City where teams dominate for 90 minutes.
“It’s very difficult to do that in football. But what I have spoken to the players about is understanding momentum in games. When it’s with you, you go with it, when it’s not, you slow it down a bit.
“That’s for us to work on.”