Dean Smith feels Aston Villa have platform for success after recruitment drive

Boss Dean Smith believes Aston Villa have given themselves the perfect platform for success after their summer spending.

Villa broke their transfer record to sign Ollie Watkins from Brentford in a deal worth £33million while also spending £20million on Emi Martinez and £17million on Bertrand Traore.

Ross Barkley joined on loan from Chelsea on Wednesday and, ahead of Sunday’s visit of reigning champions Liverpool, Smith is pleased with the squad’s foundations.

He said: “It feels like a really good window. It’s a lot easier when you only have a handful of signings to do rather than the 13 we had to do last year.

“I believe we’ve added quality to a more experienced team in the Premier League, having found it tough in the first season.

“I said at the end of last season that I saw an improvement from the majority of our players and now we’ve added quality to that core of the team. Overall, I’m really pleased with where we’re at.”

Villa lost their 100 per cent start to the season after slipping to a 1-0 defeat to Stoke in the Carabao Cup on Thursday.

They have still won their opening two Premier League games after beating the drop by a point last season and are also yet to concede a goal.

“It’s certainly helped everybody to be excited for the season ahead. Winning your first two league games gives you a kickstart and we need to make sure we continue that,” Smith told a press conference.

“It just shows that, defensively, we’ve continued what we did at the end of last season. We’ve only conceded two goals in our first five games.

“Defensively, we’ve got a really sound structure at the moment.”

Barkley could make his debut after being cup-tied for the defeat to Stoke while Kortney Hause will be assessed after being forced off.

Orjan Nyland is battling a back injury and Tom Heaton (knee) and Wesley (knee) remain out.