Jack Grealish scored a stunning second-half goal as Aston Villa rescued a point with a 1-1 draw against Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.
Villa captain Grealish collected a pass from Douglas Luiz before firing a powerful left-footed strike from just inside the area with 15 minutes remaining at the Amex Stadium.
Villa manager Dean Smith wanted a reaction from his players after a 6-1 thrashing by Manchester City last weekend and he was satisfied with the commitment levels on the pitch.
“It’s a good and well-deserved point,” he said. “We weren’t aggressive enough in the first half but in the second half, our outside centre-backs won the ball on a number of occasions.
“We went and won headers, won tackles and showed a lot more composure.”
Both teams struggled to control the match in the opening stages before Leandro Trossard scored with Brighton’s first attempt on target, seven minutes before halftime.
Moments after Grealish had blazed an effort wide for Villa, Brighton’s Neal Maupay made a blistering run at the other end to set up Belgian winger Trossard, who fired a first-time shot past goalkeeper Pepe Reina and into the bottom corner.
Maupay almost snatched a late winner for Brighton, but Reina — making his Villa debut after completing a loan move from AC Milan this month — made a brilliant one-handed save to salvage a draw for the visitors.
Smith is hoping former Liverpool goalkeeper Reina’s experience at the highest level will prove to be the difference as Villa look to secure their top-flight status in the second half of the campaign.
“The players know that they have a calm head behind them,” Smith added. “His charisma is rubbing off on people because our back-three were superb in the second half.”
The result means Villa remain in the relegation zone with 22 points from 23 matches. Brighton stay in 14th place but are now three points clear of the bottom three.