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The Villa boss was asked about what choices he had to play centre-back prior to Tuesday’s defeat to Norwich City and played down the prospect of using Mile Jedinak and Alan Hutton in the makeshift role like Bruce did before his sacking.
Smith said: “We were a little bit short defensively. We’ve only got two centre-halves, really. Mile (Jedinak) can play there and Alan Hutton has played there but Axel and James Chester are our centre-backs and I thought it was the right decision to put them together.”
Bruce came under a lot of criticism for frequently switching people out of position at Villa, playing square pegs in round holes for reasons that didn’t make much sense. Despite having Hutton, Ahmed Elmohamady and James Bree who can play right-back, centre-back Axel Tuanzebe often operated in the role instead.
And despite having Tommy Elphick (later loaned out to Hull City) as a centre-back option, Bruce preferred to use midfielder Jedinak and right-back Alan Hutton in the role. Smith clearly has no intentions of doing the same and could bring in a new face when the winter transfer window opens in January.
Villa have started the new season poorly, dropping points in 10 of their 14 Championship games. They find themselves six points off the playoffs and have only won one of their last six games.
Stats from Transfermarkt.