Smith insists he isn't going to 'make any excuses' for his players

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith insists he isn’t going to ‘make any excuses’ for his players as they return to Premier League action against Man City for the first time since Covid-19 outbreak infected NINE first-team players

  • Aston Villa return to Premier League action for the first time since January 1
  • Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground was closed after a coronavirus outbreak
  • Nine players and five staff tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month
  • Dean Smith’s Villa face a Manchester City side in excellent form on Wednesday  

Dean Smith admits Aston Villa were taken aback by the speed of the coronavirus outbreak at the club but doesn’t want to ‘make any excuses’ ahead of a tough fixture against Manchester City.

Villa return to Premier League action at City on Wednesday for the first time since New Year’s Day.

Nine players and five staff tested positive for Covid-19 and the club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground was closed.

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish trains ahead of his side’s return to action on Wednesday night

Villa striker Ollie Watkins (centre) will be expected to lead the line against Manchester City

Ross Barkley is also fully fit and could make his first start for Villa since late November

‘Experience has taught us that it can hit you very quickly, but I’m very thankful that our doctor was quick to deal with it,’ Smith was quoted as saying on the official Villa website.

‘I’m not going to make any excuses; the players are ready to play. We are looking forward to this game and we don’t feel that we are handicapped.

‘We’ll have had a three-day build-up for the Manchester City game. The first day was almost like the kids’ first day back in the playground and they were full of energy and enthusiasm.

Dean Smith, who won manager of the month for December, says his players are ready to play

‘It was good to see them back on the grass again. They looked really bright, so I’m hopeful for a bright return.

‘I’m not going to make any excuses for the issues. My players are ready to play against Manchester City.’

Villa fielded a side of youth-team players in the FA Cup defeat to Liverpool on January 8 before having Premier League games against Tottenham and Everton postponed.

Villa were forced to close their Bodymoor Heath training ground after an outbreak of Covid-19

Smith’s side now find themselves at least two games behind the rest of the Premier League and four fixtures behind some teams.

‘The players that I’ve got here have got that hunger and desire to play football games,’ Smith said.

‘I’m sure the majority of them would admit that six games in 18 days is better than 12 days on the training ground. We’ll be looking forward to all the games, that’s for sure.’




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