Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has rued the treatment Jack Grealish gets from opponents this season.

Villa captain Grealish was fouled nine times by Chelsea on Saturday, with the Blues eager to control the Englishman’s creativity from midfield.

Smith didn’t blame Chelsea for trying to shackle the 25-year-old, but did suggest his team needs to find a way around teams paying special attention to Grealish.

Smith said:

“He gets targeted, hence getting fouled nine times yesterday or whatever it was.

“He got shackled as a result of that. It’s up to me and Jack to find ways around that.

“I’ve felt actually in the last two games that we haven’t relied on Jack as much, but we haven’t come out with the wins we deserved.”

Villa, sitting 19th in the table, have eight more games to survive the drop from the Premier League, starting with a trip to in-form Newcastle United on Wednesday night.

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