Dean Smith believes his Villa team can take confidence from the West Ham United game despite being on the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline.
The claret & blue were trailing 2-1 and looking to get back into the game when Ezri Konsa was dismissed for - in the eyes of the referee - denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
But even after the sending off, Villa pushed for an equaliser and nearly got one when Ollie Watkins hit the crossbar with a header.
And Smith claims, final 10 minutes aside, it’s a performance the team can build on.
“I said afterwards that the West Ham game was never a 4-1 game,” he said.
“They scored two goals in the first half with a combined xG of 6%. They are goals that don’t normally go in. Unfortunately they did against us. I spoke to Emi [Martinez] and he felt he could have done better with one. Things like that happen.
“I thought our response was good. There was an edginess in the first 20 minutes from the players and within the stadium but we grew well into the game. But the game turned on a sending off.
“We were told VAR interventions are for clear and obvious errors, unfortunately that wasn’t the case and it got re-refereed. But I thought our response to going down to 10 men was good for the next 30 minutes.
“He got sent off two minutes into the second half and they scored again after 80 minutes. I thought our response was really good. We ran hard, our physical stats suggest that. And this was against the 3rd best team in the country at the moment. The players can certainly take a lot of confidence from that.”
Looking ahead to the Southampton game, Smith states that there is no extra emphasis on the match, despite the team being on a four game losing streak.
“It’s just the next game,” he added.
“Every game we play and approach is the next game. Yeah, we’re on a (bad) run and we need to put that right. If we win, we get three points and hopefully it moves us up the table.”