Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has claimed that summer signings Jota and Frederic Guilbert "will feel it's a bit harsh" that they were made to wait for their first start in claret and blue given how well they did for the Villa Park side in pre-season (FourFourTwo).
Jota joined Villa from Second City rivals Birmingham City in June, while Guilbert signed from Caen in January but remained at the French club on loan until the end of the 2018-19 season, linking up with his new club in the summer.
The two put in some impressive displays in pre-season but their first starts only came in Villa's third Premier League game of the season, beating Everton 2-0 at Villa Park to pick up their first top-flight points since promotion.
Speaking of Jota, who set up Wesley Moraes’ opener against the Toffees, Smith earmarked him for praise, while also touching upon Guilbert's first start, but stressed that all players have to "earn their starts" for the club.
“He showed his quality,” Smith is quoted by FourFourTwo as saying. “He and Fred will feel it’s a bit harsh it was their first start because they have done so well in pre-season. But they have to earn their starts. They have to earn the shirts.
“I thought Jota’s performance was excellent and what I expected of him. He’s a wonderful little talent. He has great awareness. It was a great ball for Wesley and a great finish.”
Up next for Villa is Tuesday night's Carabao Cup trip to Crewe Alexandra, before returning to Premier League action away at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
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