Dean Smith, Aston Villa’s manager, believed the Netherlands international will have enjoyed proving qualified in the clash against his former boss Marcelo Bielsa.
Anwar El Ghazi
’s opener has sealed the three points forAston Villa
in their 1-0 clash againstLeeds
which saw them only one point adrift of the top six on thePremier League
The Aston Villa winger was under the helm of
when he was at Lille for 18 months before moving to Villa in 2018.
He certainly knows how to play against a Marcelo Bielsa team because he’s played for one for 19 games when they were both at Lille,
” Smith said.
So he knows how they play. I didn’t think he had his best performance last week against Leicester, but I knew he was ready for this game.
“I thought he started the game really well. He scored a good goal and had a couple of good efforts as well, and a good all-round performance.”
Villa pushed hard to secure their lead in the second half after losing 3-0 to Bielsa in October.
Smith was pleased with his players’ performances, saying: “
Enormous credit because they’re a very good team and very few teams will restrict Leeds to as few chances as we did tonight.
“I thought we got our tactics spot on tonight. First half, certainly the first 15 or 20 minutes, we went and pressed them as high as we could and restricted the distance and space for them to play in, which they’re very good at.
“The back end of the first half became a little bit stretched and they had a couple of chances in that period.
“Second half we gave more of the ball up and defended in a lower block and the players took responsibility and restricted them to few chances.”
Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konza were running on rich veins of forms in the presence of England coach Gareth Southgate.
Smith added: “
I think he will have been impressed and I think he’ll have been impressed with Matt Targett, the left-back as well, who’s having a fantastic season.
“There were some really good performances out there today. I wanted to start with an intensity, I didn’t feel we had done that in the last two games.
“We’ve done that today and got a very hard-fought victory.”
Leeds are continuing their winless home runs following their 3-0 defeat bySouthampton
on Tuesday. Bielsa believed his squad did not deserve a 13th lost match this season.
“We played better than the opponent,
” Bielsa said. “
We had many minutes of dominance. Very few where we were dominated
In the first half we created more chances than they did, even if they scored a goal.”
Bielsa did admit that his squad needed to have a killer pass and creative spark.
All the crosses, passes from out wide, into the centre, were imprecise,
” he added.
In the set-pieces, of which we had plenty, we were also not managing our best. But to summarise, it was a game we did not deserve to lose.”