Aston Villa coach Dean Smith claims that new signings’ “slow adaptation” in terms of fitness and “required Premier League standard” is one of the reasons why the club finds itself in such a precarious position.

After securing promotion back to the Premier League for the 2019/20 season, the Birmingham side spent a whooping £130 million on twelve new signings but are in great danger of being relegated regardless- languishing in 18th on the table four points from safety with five games left to play.

Smith believes the new recruits adapted slowly and that’s partly why the club struggled eventually.

“The fitness levels have been a big one as well. I just felt, pre-lockdown, we weren’t as fit as we could have been, or should have been. But a lot of that was down to the fact Douglas (Luiz) came in two days before, (Marvelous) Nakamba took a while, (Matt) Targett took a while. We had a lot of changes during the summer and to get them up to speed has taken time,” he told the Birmingham Mail newspaper.

“We’ve also experienced some big injuries during the season as well that have hampered us. To lose Tom Heaton and Wes on New Year’s Day was a massive blow. To lose Tyrone Mings against Leicester, to lose John McGinn against Southampton. We lost some of our big players and didn’t handle it well enough at the time,” he added.