Aston Villa secured an impressive 2-1 win at Tottenham on Wednesday, and boss Dean Smith was delighted with what he saw from his players.
An own goal from Sergio Reguilon and an Ollie Watkins goal turned things around in Villa’s favour in north London, after Steven Bergwijn had given the hosts an early lead.
Villa should have made it more comfortable but were wasteful in front of goal, while Spurs also had their chances but fell to defeat in front of their home supporters.
While it’s been a difficult run for Villa since January, Smith and the players will no doubt be desperate to finish on a positive note and take that confidence and momentum into next season.
We face a difficult test against Chelsea on the last weekend of the Premier League campaign with the Blues still battling for Champions League qualification, but our win over Tottenham certainly lifts spirits at an important time.
“I’m massively chuffed with the performance, the work-rate, the attitude and the quality as well.
“We’ve had some performances like this throughout the season, Arsenal away, Liverpool at home…but there were a few questions thrown because it has been, and I can’t get away from it, it’s been an inconsistent second half of the season.
“But we’ve been missing our best player as well, in Jack Grealish.
“But I think, I believe, our first XI can go and compete with anyone and because it’s our second season, we will get stronger next season as well; these players are getting better and better.
“Ollie Watkins was magnificent in his pressing here, backed up manfully by the people behind him, but also defensively, I thought we got our structure really good.
“Very difficult to stop a rampant Tottenham frontline but we did it and we’ve had 20 attempts on their goal, which shows our attacking intent as well.”
“We dug in well tonight and it was a great defensive performance, but also going forward. I think we should have punished them, and it could have been more.
“I think I could have got one more tonight, but I was a bit unlucky. I’m loving it – especially when we play like that and we push forward and create chances.
“It’s enjoyable to play in. Hopefully I can get to 15 and that’s a good tally come the end of the season.
“I’m looking froward to it [playing at Villa Park in front of fans]. I’ve been waiting all year.
“My family haven’t come to a game, so I want them to see what it’s all about. It feels much louder than 10,000 fans, so I can’t wait for it to be a full stadium.”
“It felt amazing. It’s every young footballer’s dream to make their Premier League debut and for me to do it was just a dream come true.
“It’s the proudest moment of my career so far.
“As soon as the opportunity fell to me, I just thought ‘let me hit it and try my luck’.
“Unluckily it hit the post, so next time maybe…”