CON-fident Villa issue a statement of intent!
CONOR Hourihane believes Villa’s latest victory ‘sent out a statement’ to their Championship rivals.
Middlesbrough had conceded only three goals at home before they entertained rejuvenated Villa on Saturday night.
Yet they were torn apart as Villa ran riot at The Riverside, scoring three unanswered goals – and there might have been more. Hourihane reckons the manner of the win, Villa’s fourth in five matches, will have sent shockwaves through the division.
“At Middlesbrough, we really wanted to make a statement,” said the Republic of Ireland international. “After Forest we were really disappointed – not with how the game went, but being 5-4 up and them down to ten men, we felt we should have seen the game out.
“The lads were really disappointed and we wanted to go to Middlesbrough and make a statement. I felt we played really well. The aim was to win the game and show what we are all about.
“Middlesbrough are a good side. They are up there in the league. We wanted to go there and continue chasing the pack down, which we did.”
Villa are hardly in for an easy ride, despite having faced promotion contenders in each of their last four games.
Up next is a difficult trip to third-placed West Brom on Friday night.
Beyond that there’s home games against Stoke City, who had been billed as Championship favourites before the season, and second-placed Leeds United.
Under Dean Smith, suddenly anything appears possible and Hourihane, who has featured in seven of the head coach’s eight games in charge, says the team will head into that trio of tricky fixtures full of belief.
He said: “We knew the game at Derby was the start of a tough run. We have passed a lot of tests so far, going through it.
“There are still a lot of tough games to come. West Brom, Stoke and Leeds is another block of games which is going to be a tough one for us.
“But we will go into those games with a lot of confidence, after the results we’ve had.”