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Sunday 26 January 2020

Smith is left baffled by VAR but Villa still win

Burnley 1 Aston Villa 2

Jack Grealish. Pic: Reuters
Jack Grealish. Pic: Reuters

Dean Smith was baffled by another controversial VAR decision but praised his Aston Villa players for responding to criticism with a valuable victory at Burnley.

Four days after losing 3-0 to 10-man Watford, Villa held on for a 2-1 victory - their first in the league at Turf Moor since 1936.

Wesley and Jack Grealish scored the goals in the first half after the latter had what appeared a straightforward opener ruled out for a marginal offside in the build-up.

The Villa fans did not celebrate Wesley's volley until the ball was on the centre spot, and the striker's first reaction was frustration as he mistakenly believed that, too, had been chalked off.

Speaking to the BBC, Grealish said: "I knew it was going to be disallowed when you see some of the decisions over the past two weeks. When you score, you have the feeling it will be disallowed. When it was I really wanted to score again and thankfully I did.

"I'm 50-50 on VAR. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. If you're offside, you're offside."

Smith added: "I have seen the still picture and it baffles me a little bit. It is what it is I suppose."

Burnley dominated the second half but did not find the breakthrough until Chris Wood's 80th-minute header and Villa survived nine minutes of added time.

Villa held a team meeting after the Watford defeat and Smith was delighted with the response, saying: "We spoke a lot about the Watford performance and that we can't see that again.

"We haven't been great on the road this season, our points tally is there for all to see, so we knew we had to come here today and be prepared to roll our sleeves up. I could see the look in the lads' eyes today that they were ready and first half especially I thought we were excellent."

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