Dean Smith the lifelong fan at the heart of Aston Villa's revival

Dean Smith the lifelong fan at the heart of Aston Villa's revival

Aston Villa is back where it belongs - in the Premier League.

Spending money to stand still is not an ideal recipe for playing in the Premier League, especially when the former owner is due £30m of the promotion windfall, but if those players are recalled by their parent clubs, Villa will have to replace them.

Anwar El Ghazi threatened minutes later as Dean Smith's side gained a stronghold on the final.

Goals from Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn with only Martyn Waghorn's reply consigned the Rams to defeat at Wembley, denying the club a return to the Premier League.

Villa created the first chance after five minutes when, from a Jack Grealish cross, Axel Tuanzebe scuffed his attempt when the ball fell to him inside the area.

The Villa captain admitted he thought he would be leaving the club at the start of the season, with a move to a Premier League side seeming certain. "With him being a Villa fan there would have been even more pressure and expectation on him to win football matches".

Having been beaten in the play-off final last season, it's the ideal response from the Villains.

The Championship play-off final is billed as the richest game in football, with £170 million on offer to the victor.

As optimistic as the Derby camp was going in, however, they looked short of the quality required to see off their more street-wise opponents throughout. They take on different ideas, they deserve it.

The second half got underway and Villa extended their lead on the hour mark.

Derby's Jayden Bogle fired in a risky low cross that created confusion, but back came Villa, and El Ghazi's run took him into the area before Richard Keogh ended the threat.

Jack Marriott came off the bench for Derby to ensure a nervous finish for Villa with a goal nine minutes from time but it could not prevent County from recording a playoff loss for the fourth time in six seasons.

"They bought this club last July when it was at its lowest ebb in its proud history", said Purslow. The 32-year-old didn't put a foot wrong defensively, combining with Tomori to keep the lethal Abraham quiet throughout, but errors elsewhere and a severe lack of attacking impetus cost his side dearly in another instance of playoff heartbreak.

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