Heaton not concerned by losing start
Tom Heaton says the season-opening loss to Tottenham has not dented Aston Villa's belief they can adapt to life back in the Premier League.
The Villans ended a three-year stay in the Championship earlier this year and spent big in the hope of avoiding an immediate return, splashing out over £130million on 12 new players during the summer transfer window.
Heaton was one of those players to have made the switch to Villa Park, joining from Burnley for £8million, and made his debut in Saturday’s game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The clash with last season’s Champions League finalists was a stark reminder of how hard life in the top flight could be for Villa, who opened the scoring through John McGinn before being under the cosh for the remainder of the game.
"It's John McGinn and he gets his shot away! And Villa have staged their smash and grab here! They've been under so much pressure in the opening eight minutes, but it's the Premier League new boys who strike first!"
— AVFC Goals (@avfcgoals) August 11, 2019
Tottenham had 31 shots on goal and 70 per cent possession over the course of the 90 minutes and eventually broke down Dean Smith’s men, Harry Kane’s brace and Tanguy Ndombele’s strike handing Villa a 3-1 loss.
Despite going down to defeat, Smith said there were plenty of positives to take from the clash and hopes are high of getting points on the board when Bournemouth visit sold-out Villa Park on Saturday.
Heaton, who is one of the most experienced players in the Villa squad, believes there is plenty of desire to learn from the defeat to Tottenham and claims it will stand them in good stead for any potential relegation battle.
“There were moments in Saturday’s game which I am sure we will learn from, key moments and in the Premier League those details count,” Heaton told the Express and Star.
“But in terms of ability, the hunger to play at this level, kick on and keep this club in the Premier League and moving up the table, it has been impressive. I am really, really positive for the rest of the season.”
The loss extended Villa’s miserable away record in the Premier League, stretching back to their last top-flight stint, having failed to win any of their last 19 matches away from home in the division.
The majority of those 19 matches came during a season in which Villa only won three times as they finished bottom of the standings.
Having joined from a relatively stable Premier League side in Burnley, who are entering their third consecutive top-flight campaign, and with Villa having performed so poorly the last time they were in the division, Heaton could be forgiven for having any trepidation.
The England international says that isn’t the case as the “togetherness” and optimism around the club has convinced him this will be a good season.