Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has suffered a triple injury blow before their Premier League clash against Southampton on Friday night.
The Athletic’s Gregg Evans confirmed that Villa will be missing the likes of Bertrand Traore, Danny Ings and Douglas Luiz for the trip to the south coast, with the Midlands club having tasted defeat in their past four top-flight games.
Ings already has three goals to his name in his embryonic Villa Park career and would surely have relished going back to his old stomping ground, while the scale of Luiz’s absence is reflected in him being the squad’s best performer so far in 2021/22 according to WhoScored metrics. Traore could also have packed a threat with his dribbling ability, completing a joint squad-high 1.8 per game, so to be deprived of the trio will come as a massive blow, especially given Villa’s recent struggles.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, Smith tried to play down the speculation suggesting that he was coming under increasing pressure.
He said: “I think the perception from outside of the football club is always different. If you’re asking me if I sleep well, yes, I sleep well. I still play well at golf. My wife is still talking to me so, if that answers your question, then yeah, I feel fine.