Crewe v Aston Villa Team News
Dean Smith has hailed Jota's early-season impact at Aston Villa and looks set to hand him another start against Crewe this evening.
Smith is a relieved man after Villa picked up their first win of the Premier League season against Everton on Friday night and is keen to keep the momentum going when they face the Railwaymen in the second round of the Carabao Cup.
Jota made his first start for Villa in the 2-0 win over the Toffees, setting up one of the goals in an impressive performance, and looks to have done enough to have kept his place for tonight’s clash.
The summer recruit made the switch across the city from arch rivals Birmingham and Smith has been delighted with the way he has settled in at Villa Park.
“He showed his quality,” Smith said of his performance against Everton. “He and Fred (Guilbert) will feel it’s a bit harsh it was their first start because they have done so well in pre-season.
“But they have to earn their starts. They have to earn the shirts. I thought Jota’s performance was excellent and what I expected of him.
“He’s a wonderful little talent. He has great awareness. It was a great ball for Wesley and a great finish.”
We'll be backed by another sell out following tomorrow night (2,344).
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) August 26, 2019
Smith is also satisfied that Villa go to Crewe after getting off the mark against the Toffees following disappointing defeats to Tottenham and Bournemouth in the league.
It has been a tough start to life back in the Premier League. It looked as though they had earned a point against Tottenham on the opening day before the home side struck two late goals, and then Bournemouth showed them there are no easy games in the top flight.
“There’s pressure on every game at this level. Whether it’s Bournemouth or Everton at home, you go into it to win,” Smith added. “There’s no more pressure than there was against Bournemouth.”
Tuesday’s game also comes with pressure as Villa are expected to win and anything other than progression into the third round of the competition will bring harsh criticism.
Smith is expected to shuffle his pack and give some players a rest, while others who are in need of game time, will come into the side.
However, James Chester is out with a hamstring injury and although Jonathan Kodjia is close to fitness following an ankle injury, he is unlikely to be risked.