Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has hailed the performance of goalkeeper Jed Steer as the Villains progressed to their second-straight Championship play-off final. The Villains faced off against arch-rivals West Bromwich Albion during the playoff semi-final where they progressed on penalties after the scores were level (2-2) after both legs.
Speaking after the game, Smith praised the impact of Steer, who had spent time on loan with Charlton Athletic during the first half of the season, he said: “It’s amazing what can happen and how opportunities arise. Orjan was doing well but snapped his Achilles and the phone call went in to get Jed back and he’s been brilliant for us.
“They were two great penalty saves and we had prepared for penalties since the day we qualified for the play-offs. A lot of preparation went into it, you have to put in the work and it went for us. There’s still one to go, we can be proud of getting to the final. We’re one game from getting to the Premier League.”
Steer had found himself out of favour under Villa at the start of the season and he was therefore loaned out to Charlton with Orjan Nyland occupying the number one role. However, a season-ending Achilles injury for the Norwegian meant that Steer was recalled from League One and he has now helped the club reach the playoff final after saving a couple of efforts during the shoot-out triumph.
Villa are now scheduled to face Derby County during the final next week and they should be considered as favourites for the game, considering they completed the Championship double over the Rams with a 7-0 aggregate score. Still, stranger things happen during the final hurdle and Villa will be hoping to avoid another disappointment after missing out on Premier League promotion against Fulham last year.