Dean Smith praised Emiliano Martinez for his “one-man-show” performance and admitted Aston Villa were below average during their goalless draw at Brighton.
Martinez made a number of crucial saves for the visitors – more than he had in any Premier League match previously – including a superb outstretched palm to deny Dan Burn’s header and ensure Villa left with a clean sheet and a point.
Villa managed just four shots during the match, of which only one was on target, and Smith was quick to point out their shortcomings.
“You could say that (that we’ve had an off day). But I just said before, it wasn’t even bang average today,” Smith said.
“I’ve not seen the quality of the players that we’ve got make so many unforced errors as we did and thankfully our goalkeeper was on form and kept another clean sheet to make it 12 for the season.
“(I’m) really pleased with his (Martinez’s) performance, he’s made three top drawer saves, there were a couple that were straight down his throat but we didn’t protect him well today.
“He’s a fantastic goalkeeper, a great acquisition for Aston Villa, but in the other 12 clean sheets he’s kept this season he’s been protected really well.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) February 13, 2021
“Today we didn’t because we kept giving Brighton the ball back and they produced a lot of shots on our goal and he was called into action too much.
“Certainly this season (it was his best performance) but he was called into action too much today, and it was a one-man show at times, such was the sloppiness of our play.”
Brighton dominated the match, having 24 shots on the Villa goal – including nine on target – but were unable to find the crucial breakthrough.
The result leaves the Seagulls in 15th place and 11 points clear of Fulham, who occupy the third relegation spot, although they have two games in hand over Graham Potter’s men.
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 13, 2021
“I think so (that a goal was the only thing missing from the performance). We did everything else really well,” said Brighton boss Potter.
“(It was a) really good performance, one of our best if I’m being honest. We reduced a team of very good attacking players to very little and then their keeper made some very good saves.
“We’ve had some good attacks and some good carries with the ball, performance-wise, really, really good.”