By Kieran Maguire

5th Oct, 2021 | 4:00pm

Kieran Maguire salutes 'classic' Aston Villa move after they 'crunched the numbers'

Aston Villa are smart to pursue “marginal gains” through “low-cost solutions” like their new set-piece coach.

So says finance guru Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about recent remarks made by Villa boss Dean Smith.

As quoted by Birmingham Live on 29 September, Smith claimed Austin Macphee has had an “outstanding” impact on the training ground.

Set-piece specialist MacPhee was hired in the summer and three of Villa’s 10 Premier League goals have since come from corners or free-kicks.

Two of Smith’s assistants, John Terry and Richard O’Kelly stepped down over the summer.

Sporting director Johan Lange had links with MacPhee through his previous job at FC Midtjylland and duly snapped him up.

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And Maguire insists that low-risk, low-cost appointments like MacPhee’s should be applauded.

“You’re looking for marginal gains at low costs all the time,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.

“Some clubs can afford to buy their way to more success through big-money signings, others cannot.

“Villa have done well but they are not yet in the ‘big six’. So they, like all clubs, are consistently looking for low-cost solutions.

“Having people work on specific issues like this is smart. It’s classic innovation from them.

“Villa have crunched the numbers and its further evidence of data analytics in football.

“I think the average is one goal for every 11 corners. If they can turn that to two goals in 11, it will have been a bargain.”

In other news, pundit shares Aston Villa dressing room reveal after “coffee with Craig Shakespeare”.