FIZZING FER ADDS TO SMITH’S WOES
BIG problems are piling up for Aston Villa manager Dean Smith.
Smith, a Villa fan appointed to his dream job two months ago, is likely to lose top goalscorer Tammy Abraham next week.
Whether Smith can find a replacement is a big question – and Villa’s fans didn’t wait to find out, walking out long before the end.
Birthday boy Leroy Fer took Villa apart, ruining £7million Croatian international goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic’s debut and dumping them out of the FA Cup.
Smith’s only win in his past seven games was at Swansea City in the Championship.
They also beat them in the league at home, but never looked likely to make it a hat-trick.
Fer, 29 yesterday, set up goals for Nathan Dyer and Jay Fulton after Courtney Baker-Richardson had got the Swans up and running inside two minutes.
But Smith thinks Fer should have been red-carded for a second-half tackle on Neil Taylor.
“Fer could have had five cautions and it took until the 90th minute for the referee to give him one,” said an angry Smith.
“Neil Taylor has just come back from a hamstring injury and he gets one right down the back of a shin and ankle and nothing gets done about it.
“Fer created a good pass for the second goal and a good bit of skill for the third, but I’m amazed he was still on the pitch.”
Smith could have a difficult week ahead.
He is likely to lose top goalscorer Abraham.
Abraham is thought to be ending his loan from Chelsea and going on loan instead with Wolverhampton Wanderers early in the week.
But Smith insists: “I haven’t heard anything more. I believe Abraham was here today and I believe him to be in training on Monday.”
Dyer after 47 minutes and substitute Fulton in the 78th minute added more goals thanks to Fer, and Swansea manager Graham Potter saw nothing but good in him.
“I said to Fer I thought it was his best game,” revealed Potter. “People forget that he’s come back from an Achilles rupture and missed a lot of last season.
“I am delighted with him and thought he was disciplined, although I am sure Dean Smith will say he got away with a couple of tackles as well.”
Smith made six changes for the tie, Potter only one and it showed as Swansea bossed the game.
Kalinic’s first job for Villa was to get the ball out of the net. Baker-Richardson beat him from close range – and it got worse.
As the game wore on the more Villa’s fans became disgruntled with their side’s performance.
Swansea, on the other hand, were generally more positive with Dyer proving to be an inspiration.
Two minutes into the second half Dyer demonstrated his confidence by increasing Swansea’s lead when he moved on to a through ball from skipper Fer and scored with a low drive.
Baker-Richardson made way for Fulton in the 70th minute and eight minutes later the substitute added Swansea’s third goal as Villa’s defence failed three times to clear their lines.
FAST START: Swansea’s Courtney Baker-Richardson celebrates his early goal, shown inset