Dean Smith has said that an exceptional second-half performance in their 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers helped them to their ninth consecutive win in the Championship.

Thanks to goals from Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham, Aston Villa sealed their ninth consecutive Championship victory after beating Bolton Wanderers 2-0 on Friday afternoon.

While the win cemented Aston Villa’s place in the Championship play-offs, it also sealed Bolton’s relegation down to League One. Captain Grealish returned to the side after missing Villa’s win over Bristol City and played a vital role in bringing all three points back to Villa Park.

The playmaker headed home Villa’s first goal with 47 minutes gone before providing the assist for Abraham’s 25th goal of the season 10 minutes later.

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Speaking to the club website after the game, Villa boss Dean Smith praised his side’s improved second-half performance after a tight first 45 minutes.

“In the first half, it was quite tight,” Smith said after Villa’s win.

“I thought we had a lot of possession but we probably didn’t make the most of our chances I thought we contained them well but we had to make sure we weren’t complacent because they carry a threat.

“I didn’t think we were at our best in that first half. I thought we were slow on the ball. They sat behind the ball and made it difficult for us.

“The message at half-time was to move the ball a little bit quicker. I thought we did that – the 20 minutes after half-time was exceptional. 

“I don’t care who we play against, if we play like that we can go and score goals against anyone. It was very good one and two touch football, great movement and rewarded with two goals.”

Smith went on to discuss the injury to Tammy Abraham, which saw him leave the pitch after a blow to his shoulder on the hour mark.

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“He got a whack on the shoulder. I’m not sure how bad that will be,” Smith added.

“The medical staff will have a look at it when we get back to Bodymoor Heath. We will take it from there. He was in enough discomfort to come off. But credit to him getting to 25 goals this season.”

“It was a great run from Jack and then a great pick out, with a good ball back. He was brave to go and get that goal. I was pleased for him.

“It’s a concern he’s hurt his shoulder but hopefully, it won’t be too long.”

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Writer for The72 and currently studying at the University of Lincoln. Based in Peterborough/ Lincoln and often writing about Peterborough United amongst other Championship and League One clubs.