The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

HOURS af­ter Mo Farah demon­strated to his ri­vals the dan­gers of go­ing out too hard, As­ton Villa failed to heed the warn­ing.

Flu­ent and ir­re­sistible for half-an-hour, the ti­tle favourites cre­ated enough chances to stroll to vic­tory. There­after, they were leggy and leaden, pegged back by the in­tro­duc­tion of the classy Kamil Grosicki. And as bad as Hull were in a one-sided first half, it’s hard to be too harsh on Leonid Slut­sky’s side. Villa were stacked with Cham­pi­onship tal­ent, their youngest player al­most 25. Hull’s full­backs – youth prod­uct Max Clark and Chelsea loa­nee Ola Aina – were both play­ing their first Cham­pi­onship games and had an av­er­age age of just 20.

Nev­er­the­less, it is hard to see how Slut­sky can main­tain a play-off push with a squad so thread­bare and in­ex­pe­ri­enced. Like­wise, when Villa’s bat­tle-hard­ened cam­paign­ers build enough fit­ness to last 90 min­utes, many of their ri­vals will find them hard to re­sist.

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