Dean Smith believed Aston Villa could have won by a bigger margin against Newcastle, but was pleased Ollie Watkins was able to end his goal drought.
Villa moved into the top half by beating Newcastle 2-0 to pick up their first win of 2021. With two games in hand over most other teams around them, optimism is high at Villa Park.
Watkins opened the scoring with his first goal since November, another factor which could contribute to a strong second half of the season.
Smith had to watch the game against Newcastle from the stands as he served a one-match touchline ban. However, he was pleased with what he saw from his vantage point.
“I thought we were good especially in the first half,” he told Sky Sports. “We overplayed a little in the second half and could have scored a couple more.
“Really pleased for Ollie Watkins, it always weighs on forwards’ minds and it was nice to get an early goal for himself. Really pleased, solid performance at 2-0 and another clean sheet at home.
“We have had three tough away games and we only got one point, there were some debatable decisions in the Manchester games but today we did well.”
With the result wrapped up, Villa took off Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley late on. Even though both players may have preferred to play the full 90 minutes, Smith explained why the decisions were logical.
“I have Jack Grealish on four yellow cards and last couple of days he has had a tight hamstring,” he said. “When you feel the game is done you can take him off.
“Ross Barkley has had eight weeks out but both showed their qualities.”
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Smith confirms signing is coming
It would be another boost for Villa if they could add a new signing to their squad this month and it appears they are close to doing so.
They have reportedly agreed a deal for Marseille’s Morgan Sanson. While Smith was not mentioning names, he said it was obvious that they would be bringing in a new player soon.
He added: “I have not spoken to our sporting director and there is obviously an inbound player and hopefully that is done soon.”