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Villa's Smith expects stern test against solid Everton

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Villa's Smith expects stern test against solid Everton
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Aston Villa v AFC Bournemouth - Villa Park, Birmingham, Britain - August 17, 2019 Aston Villa manager Dean Smith before the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff   -   Copyright  JASON CAIRNDUFF(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Aston Villa’s forwards need to be more clinical in front of goal, but manager Dean Smith does not expect their task to get easier against Everton in the Premier League on Friday.

Villa are still seeking their first points having returned to the English top flight, after a 3-1 loss at Tottenham Hotspur in their opener and a 2-1 defeat by Bournemouth last weekend.

Smith said Everton could prove another tough test, having held Crystal Palace to a goalless draw and beaten Watford 1-0 last time out.

The Merseyside club have kept 10 clean sheets in the last 13 games in the competition going back to last season — including four against the league’s ‘Big Six’.

“Their defensive organisation has been very good. I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen so far in their two games against Crystal Palace and Watford,” Smith told reporters on Thursday.

“They’ve not been free-scorers either, just the one goal in the two games, but they’ve not conceded so it’s going to be tough for us to open them up,” Smith said.

“I felt we created a number of chances last week that we didn’t take, but it’s our turn to create them again and take them this time.”

Villa spent over 100 million pounds on 13 players in the close season, but some have yet to play.

“I’ve always been of the belief that you have to earn the right to play and you’ve got prove that you’re better than the players who have already got the shirts,” Smith said.

“Some of them have got in earlier than others and some of them are waiting their turn, but they’re working very hard in training to get into the team.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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