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Villa manager Smith laments penalty as relegation woes continue

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Jamie Vardy converts the penalty to put Leicester City 2-0 up from after Tyrone Mings handles the ball in the box.

Aston Villa’s hopes of a result at Leicester City went from possible to unlikely in a heartbeat, and the Villans’ day was laughable by the final whistle.

Dean Smith’s men conceded a controversial penalty and then fell apart in a 4-0 loss to the third-place Foxes at King Power Stadium on Monday.

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“Very tough night,” Smith said on NBCSN after the match. " You don’t want to go and lose 4-0 anywhere. We started the game quite bright first 10 minutes but they had a lot of the ball. We made a big mistake for the goal. Going in at halftime and change a few things up.”

Then came the hour mark, as Smith was preparing a pair of attacking subs in search of an equalizer. As the reinforcements strode to the touchline, Villa defender Tyrone Mings blocked a Harvey Barnes cross with his shoulder and Leicester was awarded a penalty.

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“Second half they get a penalty. I didn’t even know what it was given for at the time. Obviously checked for handball. Looking back it hits his shoulder but it gets given, and they score and it becomes a bit of a basketball match. ... We then became architects of our own downfall.”

That they did.

Villa was walloped on the day, and things don’t get any easier with Chelsea headlining a brutal run of fixtures. The club sits 19th, two points back of a trio of teams.

How can Smith and his crew find enough points to stay in the top flight?

“Being hard to beat,” he said. “That’s what we wanted to be coming here today. For periods we were. The scoreline, unfortunately, is a harsh reflection.”