Smith gives 'kudos' to Villa's new set pieces coach after win
Written by Simon Austin — August 22, 2021
ASTON VILLA boss Dean Smith has paid credit to the club’s new set pieces coach, Austin MacPhee, following the 2-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday.
Villa hired the 41-year-old Scot during the close season to become their first set pieces coach and his influence was evident for their first goal against Newcastle at Villa Park.
Matty Cash took a long throw-in, Tyrone Mings headed it on and Danny Ings scored with a brilliant bicycle kick into the top corner.
“I brought a set piece coach in in the summer and he’ll be taking plenty of kudos for that goal as well,” Smith told BBC's Match of the Day afterwards. “It was a great finish from Danny Ings and a set-piece routine we have actually worked on in pre-season.
“Matt Cash has got a long throw and why not utilise it?”
MacPhee was a globetrotter as a player, turning out for teams in the United States, Romania and Japan, and has followed the same pattern as a coach, albeit at a much higher level.
He moved into coaching in his late twenties and has been assistant at St Mirren and Hearts in his homeland, as well as with the Mexico and Northern Ireland national teams. His most recent role was with serial innovators FC Midtjylland in Denmark.
Villa's Sporting Director Johan Lange and Head of Research Frederick Leth, who are both Danish and formerly worked at FC Copenhagen. have excellent contacts in the country.
John McGinn, who worked with MacPhee at St Mirren, praised the coach when he first arrived at the club.
"Austin's the best in the business and hopefully we can thrive in that area this season," the midfielder said. “Hopefully we can add to an area that, overall, we have kind of struggled on.”
Villa are now one of only three Premier League teams to have a dedicated set pieces coach. Arsenal appointed Nicolas Jover, formerly of Manchester City, to their staff this summer, while Manchester United hired Chelsea’s Eric Ramsay as Set Pieces and Individual Development Coach last month.
Other teams tend to assign a coach - usually the assistant manager - to take responsibility for set pieces, even if this is not their specific title. For example, Bernardo Cueva does the job at Brentford, Anthony Barry at Chelsea and Carlos Vicens at Manchester City.