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Dean Smith
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Job xxxx Football Coach
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Club as Coach Aston Villa [Head Coach]
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2019 07 01 Retrieve

[Southampton have signed striker Che Adams from Birmingham City and allowed Matt Targett to join Aston Villa] We’re very pleased to have Matt join us. He’s a player we have been looking at for a considerable amount of time. He fits our criteria of being a young player with experience of playing in the Premier League and having the potential to develop further. He will help make us a stronger defensive unit and we are all looking forward to working with him.

2019 07 08 Retrieve

[Aston Villa have confirmed the signing of Tyrone Mings from Bournemouth] We’re really pleased to have Tyrone back at Aston Villa on a permanent basis. I think everybody could see the connection that he made with the club as a whole and it is excellent news that we can continue the relationship in the Premier League. He will be an integral part of the squad for the new season and I look forward to working with him and helping to further develop his game

2019 07 11 Retrieve

[Aston Villa have announced the signing of Ezri Konsa from Brentford in a £12 million deal] Ezri fits the profile of the type of player we were searching for. It helps that Richard O’Kelly [assistant coach] and I have worked with him before. He’s a high-potential player who I believe can step up to the Premier League and I’m really looking forward to working with him again

2019 07 14 Retrieve

[Aston Villa blowing away Premier League in transfer market as they near €100m spending mark] We’re really pleased to have Tyrone Mings back at Aston Villa on a permanent basis. I think everybody could see the connection that he made with the club as a whole and it is excellent news that we can continue the relationship in the Premier League. He will be an integral part of the squad for the new season and I look forward to working with him and helping to further develop his game

[Former Brentford defender Ezri Konsa is another known entity for Smith, with the duo previously working together with the Bees] Ezri fits the profile of the type of player we were searching for. It helps that Richard O’Kelly and I have worked with him before. He’s a high-potential player who I believe can step up to the Premier League and I’m really looking forward to working with him again

2019 07 16 Retrieve

[Aston Villa have confirmed the signing of defender Bjorn Engels from Stade Reims as the club continues its summer spending spree] Bjorn is a player that I’ve been watching for the past 18 months. We’re very happy to have secured his services and look forward to working with him

2019 07 24 Retrieve

[Aston Villa have confirmed the signing of Egypt international Mahmoud Hassan, known as Trezeguet, from Kasimpasa] We’re really excited to work with Trez. I’ve watched him a number of times. He’s the type of wide player that we have been looking for who is direct, causes problems for the opposition in the final third and scores goals

2019 07 25 Retrieve

[Dean Smith has told of securing the 21-year-old’s signature Douglas Luiz] Douglas is an extremely talented young player with an outstanding pedigree who I am sure will fit nicely into our style and system of play

2019 08 10 Retrieve

[Dean Smith handed debuts to four of his 12 summer signings, with Tom Heaton, Bjorn Engels, Trezeguet and Wesley all featuring for the first time in competitive action for Villa. Smith dismissed the suggestion his new signings might have struggled to gel] It’s not that hard, actually. I’ve worked with five of the players before so the integration has been quite seamless. They’ve all adapted and now we’ve learned the standard of what we need. Anybody who comes here is going to find it tough against the team Mauricio has got. It’s a great learning curve.

[Looking ahead to his side’s clash with Everton at Villa Park on August 23, their first home Premier League game since 2016] We always looked and thought Villa Park would be massive for us this season. We’ll go and put in performances for the fans at Villa Park and I hope we can be a threat

2019 08 23 Retrieve

[Aston Villa vs Everton. Dean Smith has been forced to adopt a positive mantra early in the season, notably to defend striker Wesley, who has come in for criticism after only two matches, but he admits that Friday’s fixture will be a difficult affair] It’ll be a very tough game. They were a top 10 club last season. Their defensive organisation is good, they’re tough to breach and they are very well coached. But they have also not scored a lot of goals - they’ve only got one this season. The bookies have made them favourites to win at Villa Park. I am sure our players will have something to say about that

2019 08 24 Retrieve

[Aston Villa (2) vs (0) Everton. A first-half goal from impressive summer signing Wesley and a stoppage-time effort from substitute Anwar El Ghazi handed Dean Smith’s side all three points at a relieved Villa Park] We grew into the game but always looked a threat on the break. I said yesterday Wesley was only one behind Mo Salah, he’s level now! It’s only two games into a season. There’s 14 centre-forwards probably who will go to Tottenham and not score. He’s a good player, we’ve been watching him for a long time and I’m glad we’ve got him. He was a handful

2019 10 19 Retrieve

[Man Utd warned John McGinn’s price tag has ‘shot up’ as Aston Villa seek to fend off interest] The big clubs can come calling but they’ll get a short, swift reply! He’s a player we want here at Aston Villa. His value shot up from the moment he stepped out onto the Villa Park pitch and showed just what a player he is. He has an unbelievable energy level and a big, big heart, but people don’t see the technical side of it as well - he’s got that in abundance

[They also have McGinn tied to a long-term contract through to 2024] He’s a really top player and pivotal to us getting promoted last season. He’s continued that form in the Premier League and his value would have certainly shot up

2019 11 23 Retrieve

[Dean Smith says Jack Grealish and John McGinn will not be sold in January] There’s been a lot of speculation about a lot of our players. But we’ve two owners who want to build a football club, challenging in the top half of the table, and top six in a few years’ time. To do that you have to keep your best players and I’ve no doubts in my mind the owners will want to keep those players

[Smith hopes the midfielder can be as clinical for Villa too, as he just keeps getting better] Hopefully John will go and get a few for us now he has hit the goal trail. He said to me: ‘If you need to throw me up front you can do’. He’s improving every game he plays. He works hard in training, he’s scoring goals at international level as well, so he just needs to keep on with that improvement. I’ve no doubt he will because he has a great head on his shoulders. He’s an intelligent boy, but on top of that he’s a really good lad in the dressing room

2019 12 02 Retrieve

[It has been suggested that Grealish may need a move in order to force his way into the senior England squad] I don’t think that’s the case. We’ve got Tyrone Mings in the England squad and, when an international period comes around, I’ve got 12 away on international duty. All Jack can control at the moment is his performances, performing the way he is in an Aston Villa shirt. He just keeps putting more pressure on those who have to select them squads. I certainly don’t envy them with the talent they’ve got to choose from but, for me, Jack’s getting better and better. He’s a top player. When you’ve got top players, you get performances from players at places like this [Old Trafford]. I thought he was good at Man City when we went there but he got a whack. We missed him against Liverpool but his performances have been getting better and better and there’s no-one more pleased at that

2019 12 03 Retrieve

[Villa boss Dean Smith saying John Terry has been an invaluable member of his staff] It will be special for him. He’ll get an unbelievable reception from their supporters and rightly so. He’s very important. I love working with JT. He’s brought something different to our coaching set-up. I feel like he’s come into his own with us getting promoted to the Premier League. He’s getting better and better as a coach. I’ve championed him a long time, saying he will eventually be a top manager as well

2019 12 17 Retrieve

[Whether Villa who win 5-0 switched off or not, the Liverpool youngsters should be proud of their efforts] They have a really talented group of players

2019 12 22 Retrieve

[Aston Villa confirms Scotland midfielder John McGinn suffered an ankle fracture in Premier League action against Southampton on Saturday] He got his studs caught in the turf. John got ahead of their centre-half and he brings him down. We should get a free-kick, but we don’t. John gets frustrated and starts chasing the ball and unfortunately gets injured in front of us in the dugout

2019 12 13 Retrieve

[Dean Smith has had to build his reputation lower down the league ladder before getting his shot at the Premier League and sees a kindred spirit in Blades boss Chris Wilder] I don’t think there’s any easy way for young English managers to get there. You’ve got to go and work really hard. We’ve both done that and now we’re at the top table which is the Premier League, both wanting our teams to go and perform each week. I notice Chris said yesterday it probably adds a little bit more pressure on both of us being local lads as well because everyone feels they can have a chat with you. I’ve spoken before about going to my local golf club and people asking me about my players and stuff like that so Chris will have exactly the same. But we’ve both been in the game for a long time and know what our jobs are about and it’s going and getting results for the team

2019 12 24 Retrieve

[Dean Smith has sought to quash the rumours Jack Grealish moving Man Utd] There’s been a lot of speculation about a lot of our players. But we’ve two owners who want to build a football club, challenging in the top half of the table, and top six in a few years’ time. To do that you have to keep your best players and I’ve no doubts in my mind the owners will want to keep those players

2020 01 03 Retrieve

[Tom Heaton and Wesley have each been ruled out for the remainder of the season with knee ligament damage] The Burnley win came at a cost and the cost is two key players. Both have significant knee injuries that rule them out for the rest of the season. I’m very disappointed for them, personally. Tom is a player that I wanted to bring in at the start of the season. Premier League player, England goalkeeper, a great character in the dressing room and he’s proven that already. I feel for him and his family because he’d have been nailed on to go to the European Championships in the summer. Young Wesley, our record signing, came in with a lot of pressure on his shoulders

It will probably hasten what we do in the market. I’ll sit down with them and see what we’re going to do and how quickly we’re going to do it. Our only fit striker at the club at the minute is Jonathan Kodija. Keinan Davis was training last week but he still felt a tightness in his hamstring. We’re certainly looking at centre forwards in the transfer market, but whether it’s one or two I’m not sure as of yet

2020 01 03b Retrieve

[Dean Smith says Manchester United and Tottenham can look at Jack Grealish as much as they want] I think he’s a big target for many teams and you can see why. He’s a top player but as I’ve said before, our owners are very ambitious and want to establish us as a top Premier League club. To do that you have to keep your best players, so we’ll be keeping hold of Jack Grealish. People can keep looking but they can’t touch

2020 01 07 Retrieve

[Chelsea midfielder Drinkwater completes loan move to Aston Villa] Danny was a key member of Leicester City’s title-winning team and has represented England so he is a vastly experienced player. He will strengthen our squad significantly

2020 01 13 Retrieve

[Aston Villa have completed the signing of goalkeeper Pepe Reina on loan from AC Milan until the end of the season] We’ve managed to secure a player in Pepe who has a wealth of Premier League experience. At the start of the summer we were looking for an experienced goalkeeper and brought in Tom Heaton. Unfortunately, his injury has ruled him out for the rest of the season but Pepe fits our criteria not just because of his experience but also because of his leadership qualities

2020 01 16 Retrieve

[Aston Villa have opened talks with Genk’s Mbwana Samatta, who is expected to be available for a fee of around €10 million] As I always say, I will never name-check any players. Everybody knows we’ve been looking for forwards - we’re making progress.

Suso (Villa sporting director Jesus García Pitarch) is working very hard every day. Whether we’ll have one in for Saturday, I’m not so sure yet. We’re getting closer. The powers that be are working very hard so we can get a centre-forward on the pitch.

I’m calm and confident that we’ll get players in. That’s for sure. We’ve got big games coming. If we don’t get one in by Saturday it will be the third game in a row without a recognised striker. We have to make sure we do the best without that but hoping we can get one through. With Wesley getting injured and Keinan [Davis] being out it’s an area we need to strengthen massively. We’re looking for a couple

2020 02 29 Retrieve

[Villans boss Dean Smith on Jack Grealish’s departure] He wants to play at the highest level and he wants to win trophies. We have to work hard on Sunday to win that trophy. But staying in this league is one of the biggest things to help us keep him. Jack’s future is down to what happens over the next three months

2020 03 01 Retrieve

[Dean Smith’s side are locked in a battle for Premier League survival, sitting 19th in the table and two points adrift of safety] We knew we were coming up against a good team. It was probably the second goal that was disappointing. It’s a tough way back against a team like Manchester City but I’m so proud of the players, for the character they showed. At 1-0 you’re always in the game. It certainly wasn’t a corner but we’ve got to defend it better. It’s a mountain to climb from there, but they certainly started climbing the mountain and we got a great goal. I’m very proud of them, but that’s the sort of performance we need to put in week in, week out

2020 03 23 Retrieve

[Villans boss Dean Smith is understandably reluctant to part with a prized asset, but even he concedes that a relegation battle in 2019-20 could see Grealish lured to pastures new] He wants to play at the highest level and he wants to win trophies. But staying in this league is one of the biggest things to help us keep him. Jack’s future is down to what happens over the next few months

2020 05 05 Retrieve

[Dean Smith says Aston Villa could be without two players if the Premier League season is able to resume] Everybody wants to get back into training but they also want to see what the medical protocols are first. There’s a certain risk attached to the return to training for all players and I think they want to make sure they tick the boxes so it’s safe to do so. We’ve got a player who is asthmatic, we’ve got a player whose mother-in-law is in remission and living with the family. You have to be very careful, certainly the transmission knows no boundaries. From what I’m told, we have to be led by the government at the moment. There’s a lot of hypothetical questions out there at the moment but until we get the guidance from the government about how they want to move forward out of this lockdown there are a lot more questions than there are answers at this moment. The players’ health and safety is paramount and if they’re not comfortable to return then you have to return without them, when it’s safe to do so. We have to listen to our players, we have to listen to their concerns. If the protocols say we can move forward then the ones who can do will do so.

The season is fast-paced, you finish one game and you’re already planning for the next game and this gives us that chance to just pause, reset, reflect and hopefully move forward and be better for it

2020 06 15 Retrieve

[Tyrone Mings fully supported by Dean Smith for joining Black Lives Matter protest] I wouldn’t necessarily say players can go and do what they want but if someone is passionate about something like Black Lives Matter, and it’s been in the news for everyone, then I fully support him for going and doing what he believes in. One thing I allow my players is the fact they use their common sense and social distance. There have been questions whether he asked for permission - he doesn’t need to ask me for permission to go and stand up for something he believes in, just like my players don’t have to ask me for permission to go to a supermarket where there is as much chance of contracting the virus. You can’t ignore what is happening in the world and we feel strongly about it. We have players who are very passionate about it as well and they have our full support

Timing is never good to lose a parent but he is probably in a better place now because he hadn’t been well for a long time so it was one of those things you have to deal with. He was in the care home when he contracted coronavirus but he was asymptomatic and then three days later we had a call that he had been taken to hospital by paramedics. Obviously it was tough for my mum because she couldn’t see him for 11 weeks. But he ended up coming out to a nursing home and we were allowed to go and see him in our full PPE at the moment he passed

2020 06 15b Retrieve

[Dean Smith says his players are ‘itching’ to get going on Wednesday when they face Sheffield United for the first Premier League game in three months] It is an honour, the eyes of the world will be on us. We’re looking forward to it and we have worked very hard. The players have been itching to get back

[On the substitution rule change] I wasn’t for it. I just believe we started the season with certain rules and now we have changed it. I suppose it helps the clubs with the bigger squads. There was talk to change it because there is more risk of injury but having more subs doesn’t help that. I just wanted it to stay as it was. I think Sheffield United were the same. Having five subs gives us the chance to rotate the squad during the game. It is like being away in a World Cup camp and playing a mini-tournament

2020 06 27 Retrieve

[Wolves kept up their 100 per cent record since the Premier League’s return with a 1-0 victory at Aston Villa on Saturday] We’re the only team to play four games in 11 days and three in the last six. We could do with a bit more help on that, why it’s not played on Sunday or Monday to give both teams a chance to recover I don’t know. It’s ridiculous to ask the players to play that amount of games in a short space of time

There’s a lot of belief in the dressing room and we’ll be working hard. We’ll stay up by fighting, working hard, being as solid as we have been and when we are fresh hopefully showing a bit more quality in the final third

2020 06 29 Retrieve

[Villa’s 1-0 defeat against Wolves on Saturday leaves them second from bottom of the table, level on points with Bournemouth and West Ham but having played a game more than both their rivals] We’re the only team to play four games in 11 days and three in the last six. It’s ridiculous to ask the players to play that amount of games in a short space of time

2020 07 03 Retrieve

[Aston Villa manager Dean Smith convinced Aston Villa can pull off Premier League ‘mission impossible’] Unfortunately we haven’t got Tom Cruise with us but I’ve got 11 players and I’ve seen a desire in their eyes. They feel stung by criticism, you are going to get criticism when you’re in a position we’re in. Their job is to prove people wrong. Without a doubt, we have seen a better Aston Villa after the break. The points tally hasn’t shown that, we played Wolves last week and they are pushing for the Champions League and there was nothing between the two teams. The only quality on show was the goal. If we manage to stay up this season, which I believe we will, there will be a better Aston Villa next year

I’ve still not been relegated as a manager and I don’t expect to be this season either. I’ve been in ‘great escapes’. I was at Walsall when we were eight points adrift. This isn’t adrift. This is a six-team battle. Only two of the teams in the bottom six have won [since the Premier League restart] and both were in the last minute: Brighton against Arsenal and West Ham against Chelsea. We’re all battling for points. Every day you’re drawing on experiences you’ve had. At Walsall we were eight points adrift and the following season was a battle as well and we managed to come through that by being a team that was together.

2020 07 03b Retrieve

[Dean Smith: Aston Villa’s fixture congestion was valid concern] The rest has been really beneficial - we’ve had to recover because that was such an intense period. I think I got battered because people thought I was making excuses but I wasn’t. We went into the restart having played a game less than everyone and then 10 days later we’ve played a game more. If Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp had said the same thing I think everybody would be sitting up and taking notice. I was just frustrated at the scheduling but we’ve been given seven days to recover now and we’re physically and mentally recovered to take on the champions.

I’m a little bit with Jurgen Klopp on this because they had as many chances as Manchester City, their attitude was spot on. Will there be a backlash? I think it’ll be a similar performance to what they put in on Thursday night. I don’t think there’s any issue with attitude with the Liverpool players. Manchester City are capable of doing that to any team. We made Liverpool work really hard to get the victory over us at Villa Park and we were three minutes away from getting the win ourselves

2020 07 05 Retrieve

[Sadio Mane and Curtis Jones kept up below-par Liverpool’s perfect home record in their 2-0 win over struggling Aston Villa] I’m disappointed and I don’t want to be a valiant loser because we’re scrapping for points at the moment and running out of games. The game plan was excellent, to outshoot Liverpool at home, the champions at Anfield, in terms of efforts on goal is excellent but we’ve got find better quality in the final third. Our counter-attacking opportunities were brilliant and we never found that final quality, a bit like what they showed in the final third with their goals

2020 07 08 Retrieve

[Bruno Fernandes: Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith wary of Manchester United’s ‘main man’] It’s a tough task but no tougher than going to Anfield and playing against Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino - three of the best strikers and now champions. Now we’ve got to do the same against a team who are full of confidence and the main man to watch is Fernandes who’s been outstanding for them

[Villa haven’t beaten United at home in the league since a 1-0 win in August 1995, but Smith feels his players can go into the match with confidence] Hopefully this will be the first [league win since 1995]. United are a very good team, we know that. They’ve improved, and as I said Fernandes is playing very well. They’ve got pace and power up front as well but they conceded a couple of goals against Bournemouth at the weekend and Bournemouth took the lead. There’s a lot of heart we can take certainly from our performance against Liverpool and we’re going to need that sort of performance again, but we need to be better in the final third and take our chances when they come

[Despite being without a win in 10 games in all competitions] We don’t see it as a long time without a win because we’ve just played five games. We knew this was like a new season, we can’t be looking at form from four months ago. I know statisticians will do that but the belief is there because the players know that they have played well enough to win games. We’ve just got to look at our next game. If we beat Manchester United then it’s back to a point and that’s all we can concentrate on. If we draw then it’s back to three points so it’s still in our hands because Watford have to play West Ham as well, so there’s an awful lot to play for still.

2020 07 10 Retrieve

[Manchester United produced another unerring attacking display to sweep struggling Aston Villa aside 3-0, but only after a contentious penalty unlocked the door at Villa Park] It unravelled with the first goal. We made a bright start, had some chances, they are always a threat on the counter, but it all changed round on the penalty decision. I can understand Jon [Moss] getting it wrong but I don’t know what VAR are looking at - it’s a disgraceful decision. They have a screen they can go and look at it, but they don’t seem to be bothered

2020 07 10b Retrieve

[Bruno Fernandes won a penalty despite looking like he committed the foul] It all turned around on the penalty decision. I can understand Jon Moss getting it wrong but that goes to VAR, I don’t know what they are looking at. It’s a disgraceful decision. I can’t really tell you what I think about it as I’ll get fined. It’s a poor decision. They’ve got a screen they can go to and look at but they don’t seem to be bothered now. Anybody who has been in football knows Fernandes is trying to do a drag back. His first foot is on the ball and his second is on Konsa’s shin. I thought he was going to give a foul the other way

2020 07 11 Retrieve

[Dean Smith insists John Terry is not leaving Aston Villa for Bristol City manager’s job] I have spoken to John and he is fully committed to our cause here at Aston Villa. I don’t think we can look at the summer, we’ve got to look at now. They’ve got Dean Holden, a former coach of mine, in charge at the moment. He is working hard for his club and JT is certainly working very hard for me. We’ve got a very good relationship and we enjoy working together

We’ve got four massive games to come and they’re not against Man Utd or Liverpool, they’re against teams we feel we can be competitive against but there is an awful lot of quality in the Premier League. Our concentration now is fully on Crystal Palace. They won their first game after lockdown at Bournemouth 2-0 but they’ve lost their last four. I watched their last game against Chelsea and they were very good, they were very unfortunate they didn’t get a result in that game. We have to just make sure we concentrate on ourselves and that we are performing to the levels we can. Now we face a team in Crystal Palace we feel we can be competitive against rather than the internationals at Liverpool and Manchester United

2020 07 11b Retrieve

[Dean Smith: Aston Villa must believe they can survive relegation battle] Everybody is hurting, but we have to move on very quickly. We have to go into these games believing that we can win every single one of them. The heart and the spirit are there, and we have to make sure that we maintain that. We are fighting for our lives, the players know what it means and they know what is at stake. I’ve been in situations like this before, Aston Villa is my life at the moment and we’re doing everything we can

We have to be better, but we created chances against two of the top teams. The lads showed great belief and character against Liverpool and Manchester United and if a decision went our way, it would’ve been close against United. We know how important these last four games are for our season. We know that this is a run where we can be more competitive.

2020 07 12 Retrieve

[Trezeguet’s double boosted Aston Villa’s hopes for survival as they won for the first time since January, beating Crystal Palace 2-0 at Villa Park] It’s felt a while since I had a big smile! It’s really big. It’s the first leg of a semi-final, and we’ve managed to win that, and we’ve got a second leg at Everton. It was a good performance and I think we deserved it today; we were worthy winners. It was a more attacking line-up today; we felt we’d have a lot more of the ball than we have against Liverpool and Man Utd, and it paid dividends. It gives everybody a big lift. Our performance since lockdown has been really good, that’s our second clean sheet, defensively we’ve been better, and now we’ve scored some goals, which we needed to do, and created some chances

2020 07 13 Retrieve

[Who will join Norwich back in the Championship] The Palace win was the first leg of a semi-final, and we’ve managed to win that, and we’ve got a second leg at Everton. It gives everybody a big lift. Our performance since lockdown has been really good, that’s our second clean sheet, defensively we’ve been better, and now we’ve scored some goals, which we needed to do, and created some chances

2020 07 15 Retrieve

[Dean Smith: Palace win has given Aston Villa a new belief] It’s been hard for the players to maintain that belief when they’ve put in some really good performances and not quite got the rub of the green. So it was nice to get that victory and it was a well-deserved victory too. Hopefully we will take a lot from that. Something had to change for us and thankfully it did against Palace. We felt we were really competitive in that game and we’ll be really competitive against Everton. The lads will have to do that again but getting that win has given everyone a lift

The players have all played under pressure before so they know what it’s about and we’ve got quite a lot of the players who were in the play-off winning team last year back now. They know what the pressure is like of playing in those types of games where the pressure is really on. This is tournament football now and we’ve got the players who can handle the pressure of tournament football

2020 07 16 Retrieve

[Manager Dean Smith says the Toffees will not get the benefit of home advantage without their fans] [Playing behind closed doors] has been a leveller for any team, the home advantage has disappeared with not having the supporters there. We felt it certainly and I am sure Everton [and other clubs] would say they have felt they have lost that advantage. It’s disappointing because we had six of our 10 games at Villa Park which could have been a big advantage for us

2020 07 16b Retrieve

[Theo Walcott punished Anwar El Ghazi’s glaring miss by scoring a late equaliser for Everton against Aston Villa in a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park which leaves the visitors deep in relegation trouble] The lads are devastated in the dressing room because we deserved more out of the game. We had a few chances to take the lead before we did, and then we missed a massive chance to go 2-0 up with El Ghazi putting it over the bar. Defensively, I thought we were good as we didn’t concede too many opportunities against Everton. I thought in the last eight minutes we got a bit sloppy on the ball and didn’t take as much pressure off ourselves as we needed to. For the previous 82 minutes we showed really good composure. We gave the ball back to them too easily in the final eight minutes which allowed them to put pressure on