ASTON Villa boss Dean Smith believes there is "no doubt" Cherries midfielder Philip Billing should have been sent off this afternoon.

The Danish ace was shown a yellow card following a foul on John McGinn on the halfway line after 36 minutes at Villa Park.

Billing then committed numerous further fouls after being booked before being withdrawn in place of Andrew Surman at half-time.

And Smith believes the Cherries man was fortunate to escape without a red card.

He said: "I think they've had a massive amount of fortune with Phil Billing staying on the pitch.

"He's got booked early in the first half and then he's made a poor foul on Jack Grealish, which wasn't given and then he's made two more poor fouls after.

"He should've been sent off, there's no doubt about that.

"I don't think (referee) Martin (Atkinson) probably had his best game today."

On the decision to withdraw Billing, Eddie Howe added: "I just felt he couldn't play his natural game.

"I felt he was one foul away from probably getting red carded. So to protect the team I felt it was a decision I had to make.

"I think it was a whole-hearted game. There were tackles flying in left, right and centre. I think he's probably harshly got the yellow in my opinion because I think he has got the ball.

"But then you could argue and look at it the other way and say once he had that yellow card, he was maybe slightly fortunate to stay on the pitch.

"Referees have a hard job, but I felt afterwards at half-time I had to protect the team."