Dean Smith says he still does not understand why Aston Villa’s equaliser against West Ham was ruled out, admitting the defeat “hurts”.
Villa lost away from home for the first time this season as West Ham beat them at the London Stadium. The hosts scored early in both halves to seal the win.
Villa had chances to get a result, with Ollie Watkins missing a penalty. Then, deep into stoppage time, the striker thought he had equalised – but VAR overturned his goal because part of his arm was marginally offside.
West Ham scored with their only two shots on target, whereas Villa created more danger overall. It leaves Smith disappointed not to come away with a result – especially given how Watkins’ goal was chalked off.
“It hurts because I thought we were better than them all game,” he told BBC Sport. “Two lapses of concentration have cost us two goals but we had enough chances to score more than two.
“I still don’t understand that disallowed goal, you can’t put it in with your arm but they know the laws better than me. If it’s offside I’m OK with that but then it’s a penalty. The only reason he’s going to be offside is because he’s getting fouled, so it’s a penalty.
“We know they were good from set pieces so it was a bad start but I thought we reacted really well and the fact they changed it at half-time told you we’d got going. We had to keep Said Benrahma on his outside but we allowed the cross.”
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Smith not worrying about results
Villa have now won just one of their last five games, form which has seen them drop to 10th in the table.
They had been one of the early pace setters in the Premier League, but their fortunes have worsened since. However, Smith is confident they are still playing well enough to get back on track.
“I’m not worrying [about results] at all,” he said. “After Leeds I was worried because we didn’t play very well but we’ve done more than enough to win games. The performance levels have been really good.
“You look at tonight’s game and our expected goals would be a runaway. We’ve had poor decisions against us but that happens.”
Smith also commented on a disagreement between the two dugouts, complaining that a member of the West Ham staff was aiming accusations at Jack Grealish.
“Somebody was calling Jack a diver and a cheat,” he claimed. “I don’t speak about opposition players and so I don’t like opposition staff members speaking about my players.”