Dean Smith hails Aston Villa 'spirit and character' after dramatic comeback
Dean Smith hailed Villa’s fighting spirit after they pulled off an incredible comeback to draw 3-3 with Sheffield United.
Billy Sharp’s hat-trick had the Blades 3-0 up and seeming cruising to a comfortable victory which would have put them top of the Championship.
But Villa then staged an improbable fightback, with Tyrone Mings and Tammy Abraham netting in the 82nd and 86th minutes, before Andre Green headed the equaliser deep into stoppage time.
Smith said: “I have probably never been involved in a finish like that before.
“We still have a lot to work on but it shows there is an awful lot of spirit and character in the dressing room.
“That was shown in the last 10 minutes. Sheffield United will feel they have thrown two points away. We showed a lot of character to come back.”
Smith admitted Villa, who moved to within three points of the play-offs, must improve their mentality if they want to achieve their play-off goal.
The boss was also left fuming with referee Tony Harrington after Sharp’s controversial second, when it appeared the Blades striker had kicked the ball out of Villa goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic’s hands.
Smith said: “Billy Sharp is offside and the ball is then in the keeper’s hands. I didn’t think you could go for the ball with studs up, like he did.
“We had the same official at Wigan four games ago. I don’t know why he was given this game because he made enough mistakes then.
“We finished the game really well and maybe have a bit of momentum at the end of it.”
Sharp, who took his tally for the campaign to 22, said: "I can't quite believe it at the minute, 3-0 up with 10 minutes to go, we've got to do better, we've got to see the game out.
"We're trying to win the promotion and these are the games when you get in front, you've got to win the game.
"If we'd have got three points, it would've been a great night. It took the shine off my hat-trick, I'd have rather have not scored and got the three points to go top."