Date: 21st February 2019 at 5:30pm
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Dean Smith believes Aston Villa need to fight for each other more on the pitch as there’s enough quality in the squad to turn things round. Ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Stoke City, Smith’s men have gone four games without a win and finds themselves nine points adrift of the playoffs.

When asked what the one component was standing in the way of Villa picking up a win and potentially going on a run of victories, Smith said in Thursday’s pre-match press conference: “If it was one component, that would be togetherness.

“You know, that’s what you need in a team sport. Little bit of togetherness, go and battle and scrap for each other. There’s enough quality in the team, that’s for sure. But you’ve gotta keep working hard for each other, so getting that togetherness is very key.”

Villa have managed only two wins in the two months without Jack Grealish and could see their hopes of achieving a top-six finish evaporate if they can’t stop the rot. Only 22nd-placed Rotherham United (53) and 24th-placed Ipswich Town (56) have conceded more goals than Villa (52) this season, so their problems are obvious.

No side have drawn more games than the Claret and Blues and they’ve been shut out in three of their last four outings which will be a worry to Smith. Only victory against Stoke will do to keep their playoff hopes alive. They’ll somewhat fancy their chances too, as the Potters are without a win in five and have lost three of their last four home games.

Read Crippy Cooke’s previous article

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