Smith hails Villa’s character but rues defensive errors

Head coach Dean Smith highlighted his players’ strength of character as a major factor behind Aston Villa salvaging a 2-2 draw at home to Hull.

The visitors had galloped into a strong position in the first half with goals from Jarrod Bowen and Evandro.

But James Chester’s header just before the interval gave Villa a foothold in the match, with parity restored after 64 minutes when Tammy Abraham scored his 17th goal of the season.

Smith said: “I thought we started really well, but it looked like the confidence was drained out of us a little bit.

“We have shown togetherness and a lot of character, but we’re giving poor goals away, that’s for sure.

“Defensively, we’ve got to do better in the transitions.

“We made mistakes in the first half – and when you are one or two goals down, they become bigger mistakes.

“The lads worked as hard as they could. They ran their legs off and they were tired at the end.”

Villa were, however, poor in the first half against a sprightly Hull side who had won their last six Sky Bet Championship games.

Though Smith was much happier with his players once Chester scored – the hosts largely controlled the second half – his team have not won at home in six matches.

The former Brentford manager said: “It’s a hard place to play here when you’re 2-0 down and you haven’t won for a while.

“Just by having good body language, good attitudes and good energy, the crowd got behind us.

“But we’ve got to win games here, that’s for sure.

“We’re giving it everything. The lads have shown they’ve got the character, but it’s the quality that’s needed to go on and win games here.

“I’m just disappointed we didn’t go on and win the game.”

Hull head coach Nigel Adkins was satisfied with a point.

Having been in the relegation zone in early December, the East Yorkshire club have undergone a remarkable upturn in fortunes.

They remain ahead of Villa in the league and are six points off the play-off places.

Adkins said: “We could have won the game, especially when the goalkeeper made a fantastic save from Chris Martin at the death.

“I thought we started a bit tentatively, but we grew into the game.

“Our defensive shape was excellent. We scored two great goals and could have scored a couple more. I thought we looked a massive threat.

“For them to go and score just before half-time buoyed the home crowd. We responded in the second half and we had a few chances.

“All in all, you’ve got to say it was an enjoyable afternoon. I can’t really remember David Marshall having many saves to make in the game.

“We’ve been on a good run. Yes, we could have won, but it’s important we keep the unbeaten run going and we keep climbing the table – momentum is a hard thing to generate and keep going.

“You respect the point away from home.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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