The 28-year-old goalkeeper has come under a lot of criticism after his move from FC Ingolstadt over the summer, but he showed his quality against Swansea with a number of saves to keep his second clean sheet of the season.
Smith said: “My goalkeeper made some very good saves. The clean sheet is a big thing for us having conceded a lot of goals this season. Nyland can take a lot from this game.”
Nyland has made 11 Championship appearances this season, conceding 16 goals and shutting out only two sides – Rotherham on September 18 and Swansea on October 20. He’s made mistakes but has also shone in games and his contribution over the weekend deserved praise.
The Norwegian international, who has made 27 appearances for his country, doesn’t have the most convincing defence ahead of him at club level – evident from only Preston North End (25), Millwall (22) and Reading (21) conceding more than Villa (20) this season – but he’s proven he can be relied upon.
Villa’s victory on Saturday left them 13th in the table with 18 points from 13 games, three points adrift of the playoff places, while ending their four-game run without a win. They next travel to Carrow Road to face Norwich City, a side they could replace in the top-six if results go their way next weekend.
Stats from Transfermarkt.