Dean Smith spoke to the media at Bodymoor Heath on Monday afternoon as his side gear up for their Boxing Day match against Norwich City.
The Aston Villa manager discussed John McGinn’s injury, his side's recent form, opponents Norwich City and how they'll cope with being in the bottom three.
On John McGinn…
He’s on crutches. He’s very disappointed with an ankle fracture but he’s a strong character and he’ll come back a stronger person and a better player.
For us, it’s a big loss because he’s a big player for us with the energy, drive and enthusiasm he has. He’ll be sorely missed.
It gives opportunities to others now. We wish him a speedy recovery.
On tough run of results…
It’s four Premier League defeats and four not great performances from us.
That’s concerning, obviously, and the goals that we’ve been giving away. The performance against Southampton wasn’t great.
For 20 minutes there was nothing in the game and then we made poor mistakes for the goals, which was disappointing. Our reaction to that wasn’t as good as it should have been. We’ve spoke about that at length during training and the only way you can put that right is by working hard in training.
On Norwich visit…
Every game is a must-win. We were in the bottom three when we went to Norwich earlier in the season and we beat them 5-1.
I’m not saying that it’s going to be 5-1 on Boxing Day because they look a very much improved team. They’ve played well in their last two games and they’ve got a lot of injured players back.
We’re now without Tyrone Mings and John McGinn. It’s a big game, that’s for sure. I was pleased with how Villa Park stuck with us even at a 3-0 down on Saturday and it’s up to us now to perform and get them behind us.
On being in the bottom three…
We’re always in a battle. Sometimes you have to take stock. We’re third bottom in the Premier League and in the semi-final of a major cup competition.
Sat here this time last year, we were a mid-table Championship team. We’ve come a long way in a short space of time, we had a big turnaround in the summer and we still need additions in January as well.
We’re still working hard and battling on all fronts and that will continue. Our competitive edge has to be there whether we’re in the bottom three or the top three.