With Aston Villa taking a deserved victory over Rotherham United and Andy Madley in Wednesday evenings Championship clash at the New York Stadium, one big talking point that came out of the 90 minutes was the change in approach by head coach Dean Smith.
The game was dominated by three penalties and a sending off when it came to the headlines, but there were plenty of positives Villa could take from the spirit we showed in the second half to ensure our seventh straight win and all three points.
Key to that was, unlike many managers down at ten men, Smith decided to be ballsy given what he saw towards the end of the opening 45, and rather than sitting back, the message was go at them.
Speaking to the Official Site following the game, Smith explained the decision to go 432 and go for the jugular and it was all based around the faith he had in our midfield to take control.
“We went 4-3-2. When you look at our midfield three – and you can throw the likes of Whelo and Henri into that – they’re top players. I knew they could cover the ground and carry the ball and play in the opposition half. I thought we did that at stages in the first half but, looking at the second half, five minutes before half-time I thought ‘I’m going to put Jonathan Kodjia on’ and play in their half with two up front. It was a magnificent start to the second half and overall I thought we deserved the three points.”
Brave decision as we all know the fallout had it backfired, but in terms of giving players some belief, that should lift them all that the gaffer has that kind of faith in them despite the lack of a pair of legs.
That is made somewhat easier by having someone like John McGinn there though, I have to say. The effort he puts in can often be worth two or three players!