Aston Villa conceded another late goal this weekend do deny them their second victory of the season. In fact, nine of the eleven goals Villa have conceded this season have come in the final third of the game.
This needs to stop and sharply. Let me just put this out there before I continue writing this. I am not ant-Dean Smith. I love the style of football we play. It is entertaining. But he is far from perfect and both he and his team need to back up their own words.
Shutting up shop
Villa generally dominated the game on Saturday and probably should have come away with all three points. Credit to Sean Dyche and his Burnley side – they were far from at their best and still came away with a point.
Burnley are a well-drilled side and are probably not everyone’s cup of tea. I know some supporters are completely against their style of football but I don’t think they care. They have defied the odds since they were promoted in 2016.
Villa could learn a lesson or two from Dyches men. They scored their second goal 9 minutes from time and then shut up shop. Would it have been the wrong approach had we done the same when John McGinn made it 2-1, two minutes before?
Too many times this season we have conceded goals late on. Alex wrote an article last week about our fitness levels and mentality fading late on. He may have a point. Does the manager need to look at his tactical approach and make changes earlier?
Learning from mistakes
I like Smith and I love how he analyzes a football match. He is a breath of fresh air compared to previous managers we have come across. The one thing that does bother me, however, is learning from mistakes.
I have heard both Smith and several players state this season, already, that we must learn from our mistakes. They are not wrong. But we need to actually put this into action. Anyone can point out what mistakes are being made. There are plenty of pundits who are quick to do this on a weekly basis.
Saying it and doing it are two different things. In three of the four defeats this season we have conceded late goals. And again on Saturday, we threw away two points because we conceded a late goal. This for me is not learning from mistakes.
I have always said, we win as a team and we lose as a team. So we must stay united but the Premier League is a cruel place to be when things are not going your way. The last thing we want is to be falling adrift at the bottom of the table because we have not prevented the mistakes we know we need to cut out.
The late goals must stop and we need to learn from those mistakes. We have already proven we can give a game to most this season so we now need to take the next step and start turning domination into victories.