Aston Villa boss Dean Smith is not concerned by a lack of goals in his team and insists his new-look squad are still adjusting to life in the Premier League.
Smith’s side laboured to a goalless home draw against West Ham on Monday night, despite playing around a quarter of the match against 10 men following Arthur Masuaku’s 67th-minute red card.
Villa could arguably count themselves fortunate that was the only dismissal of the game, after an angry confrontation between Tyrone Mings and Anwar El Ghazi saw the latter clearly push his head into his team-mate’s.
Despite their numerical advantage, the hosts were unable to create a match-winning chance, with the performance coming on the back of another disappointing showing in front of goal at Crystal Palace prior to the international break.
“Against Crystal Palace we didn’t even create chances in the final third until the last minute, so there was an improvement on that,” said Smith.
“We didn’t take the chances we had. Is it a concern? No. I’d be more concerned had we not created the chances.”
Villa signed 13 players over the summer after winning promotion back to the Premier League via the Championship play-off final at the end of May.
Smith added: “I’ve got a lot of new players, some of them have only played three or four games at this level.
“The running stats are through the roof. I can’t question my players’ attitude or effort, they’re certainly giving that. They’ve ran further and faster than West Ham but haven’t taken their chances.
“We needed to use our brains a bit better when we had a man advantage, instead of players trying to do it all themselves.”
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice told Sky Sports after the match that he thought his side would have lost that game last season.
Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini agreed and hopes his team continue to develop and they target a big campaign.
“I agree (with Rice),” said the Chilean. “Without any doubt we have made progress in that sense. We are working hard when we don’t have the ball, we have not conceded any easy goals since out first game against Manchester City.
“We work hard defending and after one year now, of course we still need to continue improving if we want to be a good team and fighting for some important titles.
“We had a chance to be in the Champions League spot. We couldn’t do it but in playing this way I am sure we will get more points and win more games.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.