Dean Smith fumed at Aston Villa’s “Sunday League football” defending as his side went down 3-1 at home to West Ham.
It was Tomas Soucek and a double from Hammers debutant Jesse Lingard that did all the damage with Ollie Watkins striking what proved to be a mere consolation goal.
The result was Villa’s first defeat in four games at Villa Park while it leaves them ninth in the Premier League table.
Speaking afterwards, Smith was asked about what went wrong, and said: “Three horrendous goals we gave away. We didn’t play well. The better team won on the night and we weren’t our usual selves nor did we play with the same tempo we had been in previous games. We gave three awful goals away and you can’t do that at this level.
“Listen, we’ve taken a short goal kick, gone forward to Ollie Watkins, it’s broke down and a midfield runner has broke off the back of us and scored. Then, we concede a goal from a counter attack when it’s our free-kick. In fact, Matt Targett does well to get himself out of that situation but we’re left three-vs-one. It’s Sunday League football, you wouldn’t do that and we got punished for it.
“We got ourselves back in the game with a ball down the side for Ollie. It was a good ball from Jack, another assist, and it looked like we were most-likely to get an equaliser but, again, the ball’s broke down again in the centre circle and have gone through and they’ve scored a poor third goal.”
Smith refused to blame Emi Martinez for a rare rick as the ball sailed through the Argentinian to make it 3-1.
The Villa boss added: “The third one he will feel he could do better with, that’s for sure but I’m certainly not going to moan about my goalkeeper making mistakes when he’s kept 10 clean sheets this season and has been one of our best players so far. He’s earned the right to make a mistake.”
Smith was asked about fatigue factor following the third game in a week, but said: “It’s not so much fatigue I don’t think. I’m never one to use that excuse. We had more days’ rest going into this game than we will do for Saturday’s game. We just didn’t have our usual tempo about us today.
“I just don’t think we had a zip about us tonight. I don’t know why. They were brighter than us. We made a change at half time to liven us up, we did that but we gave really poor goals away tonight and we can’t afford to do that at this level.”