Aston Villa boss Dean Smith couldn’t have been happier after witnessing his side dismantle Derby County at Pride Park.
Goals from John McGinn, Tammy Abraham and Conor Hourihane saw Villa run out comfortable winners over the Rams, who will definitely consider this result as a wake-up call.
Hourihane, 27, in particular impressed in the win as he netted a fine free-kick to put the ‘icing on the cake’ of a faultless away display.
Speaking to Aston Villa’s official website, Smith praised Hourihane’s influence in the Villa side this season:
“It was very good (his free-kick), and similar to the one he scored at Blackburn.
“He gets a number of goals and assists every season.”
But, the Villa boss was critical of the midfielder’s performance in the first-half of the win over Derby:
“In the first half he probably tried to force a few forward balls too much. But in the second half he used the ball really well.”
Smith’s side will be hoping that they can build on the victory over Derby when they return to action against Birmingham City at Villa Park after the international break.
Hourihane is starting to find some form, which will be exciting news to both Smith and the Aston Villa supporters as the festive period approaches.
The central midfielder has been drafted back into the starting XI after falling out of favour earlier in the season.
If Hourihane can keep up his impressive run of form alongside John McGinn, then Villa will definitely be challenging for a top six finish by May.
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