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Although Dean Smith has managed Brentford and Aston Villa previously against us, today was his first visit to Turf Moor as a manager and he became the first Villa manager to win a game here since Joe Mercer saw his side through to a 2-0 FA Cup win in 1959 while former Claret Jimmy Hogan was the last Villa manager to win a league game at the Turf.

Speaking after the game, Smith said: “It was a great win. Unfortunately we picked up a couple of injuries but in terms of performance, it was the total opposite (to their performance at Watford).

“The lads were brave on the ball, we changed formation and it worked really well, especially in the first half, we scored two good goals and it could have been three. They came back into it in the second half and we were probably too deep, but we got the win and that’s what today was all about.

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“We showed a little bit of everything, how good we are with the ball in the first half, and how good we are without in the second. We dug deep but we also had chances to kill the game off and get a third.”

He added: “I’m really proud. We had a meeting in the week, we spoke about Watford and we changed the system, which a lot of them have played in before. It can work and coming here, I felt that we needed an extra header of the ball in defence and that certainly helped us today.”

Wesley scored the opening goal. “I thought he was excellent today,” Smith added. “He made things difficult for their centre backs. I’ve had James Tarkowski (at Brentford) and he’s a good player and you won’t see many people bullying him like he did with the first ball and into the channel.”

Again, we’ve lost three in a row and Sean Dyche was far from happy with the first half performance. “In a nutshell, we didn’t turn up in the first half,” he said. “It’s a strange one after such a strong second half against Manchester United, but we just didn’t get to grips with the game at all, either in or out of possession. The details weren’t there, and they were soft mistakes for their goals, and we just didn’t ask enough questions.

“Credit to Villa because they had a good half, but then the second half brought a vast change in the performance. We dominated and asked more than enough questions to get something from the game, given the chances we created.

“That’s the positive I can take from the game, the number of chances we created, and there were a couple where you were left scratching your head how they didn’t end up in the net, but by then we are chasing things and we were just a long way short in that first half; miles away from where we’ve been and you can’t give teams a leg up.”

Ashley Barnes was one of the two players withdrawn at half time, along with Robbie Brady, with the manager admitting that he was still struggling with his groin injury. He said: “It’s incredibly frustrating because you are seeing the players in the build up and seeing the feel of the squad, and it ends up being a long way short of what we expect. There wasn’t any bawling and shouting at half time, just reminders about tuning in.

“I reminded them of the simplicity because sometimes when a team changes their shape it can put you on the back foot, but there was no need for that. We’ve beaten Southampton here when they had three centre backs, we’ve beaten Newcastle with a three, Watford with a three and took a point at Wolves with a three.

“To me, and I’ve seen it so many times, we were waiting for the game to come to us in the first half. Football is not that simple. You have to go and get the game, and in the second half we did that but unfortunately when we were two goals down.”

Goals have suddenly become more difficult to come by with only four in the last seven games. He said of that: “That’s the way it goes sometimes and it will probably come again because that’s the reality for teams like us in the Premier League. It’s very difficult and that’s why strikers cost so much money.

“We have had spells like this before when we haven’t scored, but you end up looking for positives and we’ve had 21 efforts on goal. Eventually, if you have that many efforts, you are going to score, but you can’t turn up and play like that for a half in the Premier League because, unless you have a lucky half, you are never going to get what you want.”

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