By Noel Whelan

17th Feb, 2020 | 6:40pm

'Massive loss' - Exclusive: Whelan reacts after shattering Aston Villa blow

Noel Whelan claimed it was a “massive loss” for Aston Villa not to have Tyrone Mings fit for the visit of Spurs on Sunday. 

The former Coventry striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, said the centre-back’s “leadership” was noticeably absent for the backline at Villa Park.

Dean Smith’s side were without the 26-year-old who was ill with tonsillitis for the visit of Tottenham, the away side eventual 3-2 winners.

The England international was sorely missed as the home side conceded three preventable, most notably the mistake from his replacement Bjorn Engels in stoppage time to gift Heung Son-min the winner.

When asked what went wrong for the relegation battlers, Whelan told Football Insider: “It was a massive loss not to have Tyrone Mings there because he may have covered the ground a bit better.  

“They left so much space against very quick players. Engels, just when you need your centre-half to keep concentration and fire the ball back up the pitch – he takes a touch.

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“When you lose that sort of leader we have seen Villa struggle before. That one player at the back with a bit of leadership – massive, massive miss. Especially in that position at the heart of the defence.

“Maybe they will look back and think about the things that they could have done better. They gave Tottenham far too much space and were caught not defending properly again. It is costing Villa.”

Smith told the club’s website that Mings is expected to recover for the trip to Southampton on Saturday.

The Claret and Blues are currently one point above the relegation zone in 17th.

In other Aston Villa news, Danny Mills has told Football Insider this player is not ready for the Premier League.