Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has singled out Tyrone Mings and Bjorn Engels for praise after the club’s 3-1 Premier League defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
The Villans took the lead against Spurs through John McGinn at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but Tanguy Ndombele equalised in the second half before Harry Kane hit a late brace.
The newly promoted side gave a decent account of themselves in their first game, although it was clear the visitors’ energy levels dipped in the second half.
Smith acknowledged Tottenham were the better side, but could still take positives out of the performance.
He said, as quoted by the club’s official website: “There were some really good individual performances, especially defensively. Bjorn Engels did very well at the back with Tyrone Mings in his first game.
“It’s unfortunate we got caught in possession and they got the goal that ultimately killed the game.”
Engels was making his Premier League debut following his summer move from Stade de Reims.
The Belgian has made a solid start to his Villa career.
Coming over from Reims to play in the Premier League is a big step up, and first games don’t come much tougher than facing Harry Kane – one of the best strikers in Europe.
The 24-year-old was superbly positioned throughout and also showed some good on-the-ball ability.
Despite shipping three goals, he and Mings arguably did enough to start the next game against Bournemouth together.