By Noel Whelan

18th Aug, 2021 | 10:30am

Forget Grealish: This may be real reason for 'woeful' Aston Villa display v Watford - Whelan

Noel Whelan has claimed the departure of John Terry may have contributed to the “woeful” display from Aston Villa against Watford.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker ripped into the Villans’ defending in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat.

Villa confirmed in late July Terry had left his post as assistant head coach after nearly three years in the role.

Richard O’Kelly has also left the coaching staff at Villa Park having also joined alongside Dean Smith in 2018.

The Villans allowed Watford to take a 3-0 lead before John McGinn struck in the 70th minute to reduce the deficit.

An injury-time penalty from Danny Ings salvaged some respect for the Midlands giants.

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Whelan slammed Villa’s defensive display, both collectively and as individuals.

He suggested Terry’s exit may have had an impact.

Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “I think it’s probably the fact that they’ve got rid of John Terry, that could be the real reason. The defensive system and unit seemed to crumble.

“I think that’s what let them down. It wasn’t going forward. We know they’re going to score goals because that’s what they’ve gone out and got, creative midfielders and goal scorers.

“But defensively, they looked a little bit woeful at times. Dean Smith will expect a lot, lot better as a team unit and individuals when it comes to defending and doing their jobs properly.

“That’s what led them down, individual mistakes, collectively not defending properly. When you’re 3-0 down, it’s an uphill struggle.

They showed the character to get back but it was just a little bit too much for them.”

In other news, Alan Hutton has told West Ham to launch bargain raid to sign senior Aston Villa star.