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Carabao Cup

'One step closer to a major final' - Smith

The Aston Villa boss was full of pride after Wednesday's Carabao Cup Semi-Final first leg at Leicester City

9 January 2020

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith was proud of his players for putting in a performance which moves them "one step closer to a Wembley final in a major cup competition", as they drew 1-1 at Leicester City in their Carabao Cup Semi-Final first leg.

The Villans took the lead in the first half, courtesy of Frederic Guilbert's close-range effort, and defended well for long periods of the game as the hosts looked for a way through.

Though Leicester did eventually equalise on 74 minutes through substitute Kelechi Iheanacho, Smith came away with pride and is already looking ahead to the second leg at Villa Park.

"Overall, I’m really proud of the players to be leaving here unbeaten," he told the club's TV channel. "It took a lot of hard work, a great defensive display and in all that we gave them a goal as well.

"I'm really pleased that we’re going back to Villa Park all square. It will be a full house with a raucous crowd behind us and I’m really looking forward to that. We’re one step closer to a Wembley final in a major cup competition.

"We’ll take a lot of belief out of the performance tonight, defensively, because our defenders played very well in tough conditions against a very good team."

The return meeting is scheduled to take place on 28 January, and while Smith will relish the occasion, he's also wary of the threat posed by Leicester.

"With the form that Leicester have been in this season, leaving here unbeaten is a good scoreline to be going back with," he added.

"You’re always wanting more and we’ve given them a farcical goal, so I feel a little bit disappointed with that. We have to be honest and admit that they put us under a lot of pressure."

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