Leon Bailey has vowed Aston Villa will show a response to Friday night’s dismal 3-1 defeat at Arsenal.
The 24-year-old was brought on from off the bench for the second half at the Emirates Stadium, with his team already 2-0 down.
And he provided one of the few glimmers of light for the visitors on an otherwise miserable evening, playing a key part in an improved display in the second 45 minutes.
Dean Smith’s side have now lost three Premier League games in a row, with the pressure on to turn that form around at home to West Ham United on Sunday.
Bailey wrote on social media after the full-time whistle against the Gunners: “Disappointing performance today. We definitely will bounce back & do better. Thanks for the support Villans.”
Boss Smith admitted he had hit out at his players after being well beaten by Arsenal.
Thomas Partey opened the scoring with a free header after 23 minutes. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added a second via a rebounded penalty, following a VAR check after the first-half whistle had blown, as Matt Targett was judged to have brought down Alexandre Lacazette.
Bailey was brought on at the break but, 10 minutes after the restart, Villa’s summer target, Emile Smith Rowe, pounced on a John McGinn error in midfield before latching on to Aubameyang’s return pass and striking his effort off Tyrone Mings as it sailed home to make it 3-0.
Substitute Jacob Ramsey bagged his first for the club with a consolation nine minutes from time, but the damage was already done, with Villa beaten for the fifth time from nine Premier League fixtures this season.
Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, an irate Smith said: “We were unrecognisable and we deserved what we got. We were dominated physically. I had to change it at half-time. That first half was unlike us. I fancied us in the second half had it been just a goal but 2-0 was too hard to get.
“We knew Arsenal would start strong. I would say it was systems and personnel but we just didn’t play well.
“We got dominated and didn’t win enough second balls.
“I’ve just questioned the players in there.”