Aston Villa midfielder Connor Hourihane has hailed teammate Jack Grealish after his derby winner.
The young playmaker was attacked by a fan during the game but he kept his composure and fired the winning goal of the game in the second half.
Hourihane lavished praise on his teammate for the maturity and calmness he showed in that situation.
In a derby game, things could have easily spiraled out of control after an incident like that. However, Grealish chose to remain calm and respond with his performance on the pitch.
Speaking to Express and Star, Hourihane revealed that things like that cannot be tolerated in the game and the Birmingham fan’s act was cowardly and disgusting.
He said: “It was unbelievable from Jack. He did incredibly to keep calm. For an incident for that to happen and to keep his cool. At the end of the day he has had the last laugh and I’m delighted for him. Stuff like that cannot be tolerated. Jack could have been very, very badly hurt. When he ran on the pitch I saw him from the corner flag and he was running towards us. I thought here we go, it’s a streaker, albeit with his clothes on. No-one expected what happened to happen. It’s not easy to keep your mind on the game. It is one of those things, a freak incident. You have to try and get on with it as best you can. We had to refocus pretty quickly. Obviously, the incident is in the back of your head for a few minutes but the game goes on. We acquitted ourselves really well.”
Grealish will be delighted to hear these comments from his teammates. His classy and dignified reaction certainly justify the praise coming his way.
The attacking midfielder has been in fine form since his return from injury. He has scored against Derby and Birmingham now.
It will be interesting to see if he can guide Aston Villa to a strong finish now. Dean Smith’s side have missed a match winner like him.
The Championship outfit still have an outside chance of making it to the play-offs and Grealish will be key to their hopes.