NORWICH, England -A superb individual effort by midfielder Jacob Ramsey and a late Ollie Watkins goal gave Aston Villa a 2-0 win at bottom team Norwich City on Tuesday, as home manager Dean Smith suffered defeat against his former club.
Smith took over at Norwich after parting company with Villa last month and the visitors, now managed by former Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard, missed several chances to win by a bigger margin.
Gerrard, who celebrated his fourth win in six games with Villa after taking over from Smith, praised the performance and Ramsey’s goal.
“I thought we controlled large parts of this game – we were difficult to play against and looked really dangerous,” Gerrard told BT Sport.
“As a midfielder you can only applaud that kind of play and to then unleash a shot like that, it should be in the run for goal of the month.”
Ramsey said he took a leaf out of Gerrard’s book when he opened the scoring.
“I’ve been watching clips of the gaffer and he was one of the best goalscoring midfielders and that’s what I want to be,” he said.
“ I saw Ollie knock it off, there was no-one there so I thought ‘why not?’ It was a big win, Norwich were a good side, especially in the second half.”
Norwich looked toothless and their goalkeeper Tim Krul tipped over a long-range effort from John McGinn before Ramsey beat him in the 34th minute with a goal of the highest quality.
Ramsey took a Watkins pass into his stride on the halfway line and after pulling clear of several markers with a darting run, he unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.
Krul kept out a close-range Watkins header at the far post with a reflex save in the 55th minute but was powerless in the 87th, when the Villa striker was left with a simple tap-in after good work by substitute Carney Chukwuemeka.
The result lifted Villa to ninth place in the standings on 22 points from 17 games while Norwich stayed rooted to the bottom on 10 points.
Smith conceded he faced a tall order to keep Norwich in the top flight but remained hopeful he could pull it off.
“If this was an impossible job I wouldn’t have taken it,” he said. “We’ve had some performances here but that was the first time we were below the standard.”