Dean Smith was in excellent form after Aston Villa won 3-0 on the road in Fulham last night.
Connor Hurrihan scored a well-taken second 15 minutes four minutes before Jack Graylish scored.
Tyrone Mings dropped Hurrihan’s whipped delivery halfway through.
The win went from two to two in the Premier League, with Villa yet to concede 180 minutes of football. Their unbeaten run in the Premier League now extends to six, beating Palace 2-0 in a last-minute resumption.
After Villa’s first day win since New Year’s Day, head coach Smith has to say, including addressing recent reports linking Villa with credit changes to the Chelsea duo, Rose Barkley and Ruben Loftus-chin.
A good win and your first clean sheet in 27 matches …
“It’s very pleasing. A good all-round performance, we’ve got a balance this time around. We’ve got some good quality and the real option to get the ball out of the back of the net is a really pleasurable moment.”
What made you most happy?
“The balance between defense and attack. It’s very difficult to get right in football. Before we were locked out we were guilty of trying to win kung-ho games. After the lockout we defended deeply and numerically.
“It gave me so much pleasure, the balance between defending and attacking. We scored some good goals and we showed resilience to keep a clean sheet.”
You’ve got a solid backbone, regular suspects coming forward …
“It’s all a team performance. None other than a challenge. JJ (Jacob Ramsay) was very happy to get them too. He got the chance to make his Premier League debut with his performance at Bristol City.
Olly Watkins has no goals …
“It’s disappointing, but he gives us another dimension. The players appreciate his effort and the amount of work he does in his performances.
“He definitely extends the game for us and for his relentless work rate, effort and quality. He has got some good link games now working with midfielders and Jack Graylish.”
This is a great start, what can you achieve?
“Try and win the next game. That’s all we can do. We didn’t raise many expectations. We weren’t satisfied with finishing 17th last season. We want to be better. We have to keep working and participate in shows like tonight.”
Is Rose Barkley or Ruben Loftus-cheek having any interest in debt before next week’s deadline?
“We always talk to a lot of football clubs about football players because this is something we need to keep an eye on as we want to improve our team.”
John McCain returns to his best …
“Before the start of the season he played friendly against Manchester United and we thought we would get John McKinney back.
“He regained his fitness after the resumption of the project. He played well at Liverpool and was our best player at West Ham on the last day of last season.
“Today, I thought he was the best, which is why so many people talked about him last season. He has a big heart. He’s a big character in our dressing room.”
The England squad announced on Thursday that Jack Graylis could not do more, could he?
“This will be Gareth’s decision. Jack can no longer do that, of course based on the first half (vs Fulham).
“Not only the goal and assist for the second goal, but also defensively. The reactions he made to defend and win the ball were excellent. That was something he added to his game, as well as what led him to his goal.”
What work do you want to do?
“I know we’re coming here against a Fulham team that went to the Premier League. We do not have the lion’s share of the ball. We had to pick when to press.
“If I were a collector, I would have been disappointed with the amount of shots they took at our target today (16, three goals),” he said.
“We let them out a little too much on the edge of our box, but they didn’t have massive chances. It owes a lot to the defensive display.”