Dean Smith sat down with the media on Thursday afternoon to preview Aston Villa’s trip to Southampton at the weekend.
The boss provided updates on the fitness of Tyrone Mings and the mood within the dressing room, while he also paid tribute to Alan Hutton, who announced his retirement on Wednesday.
Here’s what the boss had to say…
“Tyrone is fine. He had tonsillitis but he was back training on Wednesday.
“He’s a big player for us so it was a big miss on Sunday. He has the qualities to be a real leader.
“Keinan Davis will start training on Monday, John McGinn has been running on the Alter-G and will be looking to run on the grass at the weekend, but we’re taking it day-by-day.”
On the mood in the camp…
“We played ever so well in the first half [against Spurs], and to concede through a mistake in the dying minutes was difficult.
“We can take a lot of heart from the performance and we know what we have to work on to improve.
“The break did us good, we went at a team that can be top-four.”
“Their head coach has said that it’s tough to play at home, because there is pressure on them.
“We have to concentrate on ourselves and put that pressure onto Southampton and their supporters.
“If we play to the capabilities that have got, we are a match for anyone.
“The quality of his [Danny Ings] finishing has been outstanding.
“If our defenders play well, we keep him quiet, they are all capable but they have to concentrate and focus for 90 minutes.”
On Alan Hutton…
“He was brilliant, I have only good things to say about Alan. He’s an unbelievable professional, probably underrated at times.
“He is very well respected, and we wish him well in his retirement.”