Dean Smith remains upbeat about Villa form despite downturn in results

Dean Smith refuses to be downbeat as inconsistent Aston Villa look to recover their form.

They go to Southampton on Saturday after letting the lead slip twice to lose 3-2 at Burnley.

Villa were leading 2-1 with 15 minutes left on Wednesday before quickfire goals from Dwight McNeil and Chris Wood won the game for the Clarets.

Villa are 10th in the Premier League after one win in five games but Smith remains positive despite their indifferent run.

“We’re closer to the top four than the bottom four. We’ve added quality and started the season well. We’re still disappointed with results that have gone against us,” said the Villa boss.

“We stayed up last season with the run that we had, then we’ve added quality and I think we’ve started the season well.

“We’re disappointed with some of the games we’ve been beaten in. We’ve had some referee’s decisions that have gone against us – Manchester City, Manchester United, West Ham and Brighton to name four of them.

“We haven’t had an awful lot go with us in that department but we’re comfortable with how we’re playing and how we’ve attacked a lot of the games.

“It’s been rare that I’ve walked away from a game and thought ‘we haven’t competed today’.”

Villa go to St Mary’s after the defeat at Turf Moor with Smith still rueing the dropped points.

He told a press conference: “It felt like we threw three points away – that was my emotion after the game. You come back, you reflect, you review the game, and we were very good in the game and we deserved to win the game.

“I’d have been disappointed coming away with a point. Sometimes you have games like that, where you’re so much better than the opposition for large periods.

“We didn’t take the game away from them as well as we should have. As I said, it could have been 3-0 at half-time and probably should have been.

“My biggest disappointment was the goal we conceded from the corner. We have to defend that better and I spoke to the players about that.”

Midfielder Morgan Sanson could make his debut after signing from Marseille on Tuesday but Kortney Hause is still battling a foot problem and Wesley (knee) remains out.

“He (Sanson) looks in a good place and he’s available for the squad, so he’ll certainly travel down with us,” added Smith.