Steven Gerrard salutes Dean Smith impact as Aston Villa get second successive win

Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard thanked predecessor Dean Smith after his team’s 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Steven Gerrard salutes Dean Smith impact as Aston Villa get second successive win

Steven Gerrard salutes Dean Smith impact as Aston Villa get second successive win

The Villans marked Gerrard’s arrival with a 2-0 win over Brighton last weekend, and followed it up on Saturday with goals from Matt Targett and John McGinn.

Ashley Young whipped in a corner for the opener, which Targett did well to control. The left-back then sent a sweeping drive through a host of bodies and into the net.

Villa doubled their lead late on as McGinn hit a great strike into the top corner, albeit against the run of play. Palace got one back through Marc Guehi in stoppage time, but the final whistle blew before they could find an equaliser.

During a post-match interview with BBC Match of the Day, Gerrard said: “We can’t get carried away. It has been a positive couple of weeks. The players have been fantastic in their application. We had to dig in at times today but we managed to get over the line which is nice.

“There was great work before we came in. Dean Smith had done an impressive job before and the performances in the five games before probably didn’t warrant five defeats.

“We’ve had to put a lot of information across in a short of period of time and there are still little tweaks to make.

“We have got an impressive set-piece specialist at Aston Villa and his job is to identify weaknesses in the opposition side. The players deserve all the credit for going and implementing [Targett’s] goal.

“I have been lucky and blessed enough to play at a high-level. I’ve wanted to grow and take information with me, in terms of shape and how you look out of possession. Hopefully in time people will see that identity and philosophy come across. It is a real big step to take six points from six.”

Palace ‘not great’ at set-pieces – Targett Goalscorer Targett told BBC Sport: “We showed what the manager wanted us to do in the first half and we believed in ourselves as players. The second half was more difficult because they threw attacking players on. The second goal killed the game off. We were disappointed with the late goal but we’re delighted with the three points.

“We’re delighted with back-to-back wins but we’ve got a busy period coming up.”

On his goal: “I was meant to block Tyrone Mings’ man but I just kept it low and it went in. It’s been a long time coming!

“The analysts and us spoke about set-pieces in the build-up to the game. We know they are not great at defending them.”

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