Heaton sees positives in City loss

Aston Villa

Goalkeeper Tom Heaton feels Aston Villa will take positives from the Manchester City defeat and keep progressing as a group of players.

The Villans held their own in the first half at the Etihad Stadium before the Premier League champions flexed their muscles after the break to run out 3-0 winners on Saturday afternoon.

The result left Dean Smith’s side 15th in the top-flight standings and dented a three-game unbeaten run for the West Midlanders.

Villa may be three spots above the relegation zone but due to the congested nature of the table, are just two behind seventh-placed Manchester United.

Not many teams leave the Etihad with anything to show for their efforts and Heaton believes it was far from a wasted exercise, despite their failure to pick up any points.

“The way we tried to impact the game means we can take things from it for a big week,” he said. “That added belief – it’s the first time coming to City for a lot of the lads.”

Villa have adapted well on their return to the top flight and have every chance of staying out of the drop zone.

It will not be easy due to the standard of clubs around them in the standings but the man capped three times by England feels he and his colleagues are “learning” all the time and could be higher up the table.

“It’s been a rock-solid start,” he added. “A good foundation. We’ve been unlucky not to come away with points in some games.”

Next up for the men in claret and blue is a midweek EFL Cup fourth-round clash with local rivals Wolves.

Smith will doubtless make many changes for the tussle with Nuno Espirito Santo’s charges but will want another strong display to keep up momentum and get back to winning ways.