Smith rues rare Villa off day in front of goal

Head coach Dean Smith urged Aston Villa to be more clinical with their finishing after a scrappy 0-0 draw at relegation-threatened Reading.

Villa began promisingly and almost snatched the lead on the half-hour mark when centre-back Tommy Elphick headed against the crossbar.

New loan signing Nelson Oliveira proved to be Reading’s most potent threat and was twice denied by Villa goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic.

Reading keeper Emiliano Martinez was also in good form, making a superb save from Villa striker Tammy Abraham towards the end.

“We came here trying to get three points and we only came away with one,” Smith said.

“So while I was disappointed with the result, I wasn’t with the performance, especially in the second half when we were excellent.

“We pressed Reading, we went and won the ball high and created a number of good opportunities, the big chances.

“But we didn’t take them, we didn’t get the ball across the line. It’s very unlike us not to score goals. At least we looked very solid at the other end.

“I thought we started the game really well, probably for the first 20 minutes. For the last 20 minutes of the half, I thought Reading bossed it.

“Every game you play is an opportunity to get three points. We can’t control other results, only ours.

“But if we play like we did, certainly in the second half, then against other teams we’ll win comfortably.

“We’ll take the positives from the game but we’ve just got to stick the ball in the net.”

Reading have won only one match in 14 in the Championship and still lie in the relegation zone.

“We had a fantastic first half,” manager Jose Gomes said. “We were the better team and we created some good goal situations. We should have scored from at least one of them.

“The way that Aston Villa attacked, they were very dangerous. They are really strong in attack.

“So I was pleased that we finished with a clean sheet, even if we played a bit out of our process in the second half. It was more direct football.

“But even with the more direct football, our players did very well. They were brave, they fought and they defended.

“They stopped this very strong Villa attack. The quality and the spirit that we felt today gives us a big hope for the future.

“That hope is untouchable, for the way that the players are playing and working. We are definitely in a good way.

“These players are fighting to achieve the target that we want [Championship survival].

“We created goal situations today, probably three or four clear chances. We must create more and we must produce more football.

“We should score more, definitely. But it would be different if we didn’t produce any danger for the opponent. We did.

“We are producing and creating goal chances. It is just the finishing that is missing.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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