'A one man show' - Dean Smith hails Emi Martinez on a 'bang average' night for Aston Villa

By Sam Cox

Emiliano Martínez was in fine form for Aston Villa at the Amex Stadium
Emiliano Martínez was in fine form for Aston Villa at the Amex Stadium

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith hailed the performance of his goalkeeper, Emi Martinez as the former Arsenal stopper produced a fantastic display in the 0-0 draw with Albion.

Speaking after the match Smith said, “I was really pleased with his performance, he’s made three top draw saves, and two which were down his throat.

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"Emi’s a fantastic goalkeeper and a fantastic acquisition to Aston Villa, and he’ll be the first to admit that out of the 12 clean sheets this season, he’s been protected really well, but today we didn’t because we kept giving Brighton the ball back. He was a one man show at times.

"Emiliano Martinez made some good saves when needed and was our best player on the pitch tonight. It shows you need a player like that at times, we have not had many performances like this where we have been second best,’ admitted the former Brentford manager.

Martinez recorded his most ever saves in a Premier League match at the AMEX which included two acrobatic stops to deny separate efforts from Leandro Trossard and Alexis Mac Allister in the first-half, and he continued that inspired form into the second as Albion couldn’t breach his goal.

Despite Smith describing his side’s performance as ‘not even bang average’, he recognised the hosts quality on the night.

“Credit to Brighton as well, they have a good progressive team which is well coached by Graham (Potter), and they gave us problems all night tonight.

After this evening’s draw, the Villains have already surpassed their tally for the entirety of last season, but Smith is keeping his and his team’s feet firmly on the ground.

“There’s certainly not a satisfaction (in the points tally) after tonight, with the performance because I’m very-much performance based and our performance leaves a lot to be desired.

"The players know that, but it's very hard, this Premier League, to win games. One thing I can always guarantee in a football match is that they’ll be mistakes, what I don’t expect is us to make as many as we did tonight.”

After a draw on the south coast, Villa next face high-flying Leicester City at Villa Park.

Martinez said: "Not really (pleased with a point), we came here to win and be in the top seven with two games in hand. We were sloppy in the first half and could not create the chances in the second.

"That is my job and the back four, to keep a clean sheet. It is one of those games where we had to put our bodies on the line but we were really off today.

"It was so cold, I thought I had a good game because I made a save early on and I am delighted to keep everyone out today.

"I just want to repay the trust of the manager, goalkeeper coach and club. I am glad I settled in really quickly but credit to my team-mates who are doing a really good job.

"We are looking to Europe, that is why I am frustrated today. We were not in the game since the first minute and Brighton deserved to win."