'Shot themselves in the foot' - Exclusive: Whelan claims Smith made Villa blunder v Spurs


Noel Whelan claims that Aston Villa manager Dean Smith will learn from his tactical blunder in his side’s 3-1 win against Tottenham.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker says that Villa were the architects of their own downfall at times against the north London giants, inviting pressure onto themselves with a deep defensive line.

Despite John McGinn’s opening goal, Tanguy Ndombele scored a debut goal and Harry Kane netted twice to seal a 3-1 win for Spurs.

Whelan says that the tactics employed by Smith meant that Tottenham were able to create chance after chance on Villa’s return to the top flight and insisted the manager would learn from his mistakes.

“One thing Aston Villa need to do is take the pressure off their defence by trying to play higher, Whelan told Football Insider.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“I know you’re playing against a very good Tottenham side but they’ve just spent £127million. You want to test them at the other end and relieve a little bit of pressure on your back four.

“I just think they got very, very deep at times, inviting Tottenham on, didn’t cause them hardly any problems in the second half.

“Dean Smith will use it as a learning game as well, you need to play higher up the pitch at times and be brave enough push bodies up. I think they kind of shot themselves a little bit in the foot by not having a go in the second half.”

Aston Villa’s next match sees them take on Bournemouth at Villa Park, with the Cherries coming off the back of a 1-1 draw with Villa’s fellow promotion winners Sheffield United.

In other Aston Villa news, Football Insider can reveal that the club are in talks over agreeing a contract deal with a promising attacker.