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Dean Smith suggests goal-line technology failure was parting gift from father

Aston Villa v Sheffield United – Premier League – Villa Park
(Image credit: Paul Ellis/NMC Pool)

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith believes a “one-in-a-million” technology failure could have been a final gift from his father.

Villa host Sheffield United in their opening Premier League game of the season on Monday.

They drew 0-0 with the Blades in the first game of the restart in June – claiming a controversial point.

Orjan Nyland carried Oliver Norwood’s free-kick into his own net but goal-line technology failed to spot it had gone in, meaning referee Michael Oliver did not receive the usual signal on his watch.

It helped Villa survive last term and, after his father Ron passed away in May, Smith wondered if he had helped.

“It is one of those one-in-a-million things. It has never failed before and it failed on that day,” he said.

“I am not really one for religion or anything like that but my dad had just passed away.

“His old steward’s jacket was in the Holte End and he had a thing about watches. So maybe he just wanted to play a bit of a trick that day.

“People can say what they want about the goal. We stayed up by merit and there were certainly many goals chalked off which shouldn’t have been last season.

“VAR was certainly contentious last season to say the least for Aston Villa.”

Emiliano Martinez will make his debut in goal after joining from Arsenal, with Tom Heaton still out with a knee injury.

Heaton is not due to return for another month and Smith explained why he felt Villa needed to sign the £20million Martinez.

He added: “The estimate is that Tom will miss the first three games but again, he’s still not training yet and I couldn’t take the risk of a 34-year-old coming back from an ACL injury returning on the date we all expect him to.

“We decided to move quickly for another goalkeeper but I also kept Tom Heaton in the loop with what we were doing and kept him informed.”

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