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Aston Villa’s Smith discusses Samatta and Betrand Traore omission in Sheffield United win

18:25 EAT 22/09/2020
Mbwana Samatta of Tanzania and Aston Villa.
The Tanzania and Burkina Faso internationals were not listed in the 18-man team for their Premier League opening match

Mbwana Samatta was omitted from the Aston Villa squad that defeated Sheffield United 1-0 on Monday because of his performance in training, manager Dean Smith has confirmed.

The Tanzania captain alongside new signing Bertrand Traore did not feature in Smith’s 18-man squad as Ezri Konsa’s header gave them a flying start to the 2020-21 Premier League season at Villa Park.

Zimbabwe's Marvelous Nakamba and Egypt's Ahmed El Mohamady were unused substitutes in the fixture while Trezeguet played for the duration of the encounter.

Nine months after his signing from Genk, Samatta faces an uncertain future in the West Midlands following the signing of Ollie Watkins from Brentford this summer.

In recent weeks, the 27-year-old has been reportedly linked with Villa's league rivals West Bromwich Albion and a move to the Turkish Super Lig could be on the cards with Fenerbahce said to be interested in his services.

At the end of Monday’s encounter, Smith claimed Samatta’s absence was just a selection decision as they look to improve on last season’s performance.

"That was just selection. Players who I believe have done well [in training] get in the team,” Smith was quoted by Birmingham Live.

"Last season was a tough start, a baptism and we had to bed in a lot of players.

"This season we just felt there's no newness about it. There's an expectancy from myself that we'll be much better this season."

For Traore, who just signed a four-year contract from Lyon on Saturday, Smith claimed the club could not complete his documentation before the match.

However, the manager assured that the Burkina Faso forward will be available for Aston Villa's Carabao Cup trip to Bristol City on Thursday.

"He couldn't have been involved today, obviously,” he added.

"He had to be signed by Friday lunchtime which involved work permits and, with Covid at the moment, we couldn't get that done in time for tonight.

"All the paperwork's done now and he'll be ready for Bristol City. He brings us extra quality which we need and competition for places is what we want if we're to be a high-quality team."