Every word Unai Emery said about Aston Villa 2-1 Lille, Ollie Watkins and defending set-pieces

Unai Emery spoke to the media after Aston Villa's win over Lille
Unai Emery spoke to the media after Aston Villa's win over Lille -Credit:Photo by Matt McNulty - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images


Unai Emery sat down with the media after Aston Villa's 2-1 win over LOSC Lille at Villa Park.

The victory ensures Villa take a slender advantage to France for next Thursday's Europa Conference League quarter-final second leg. Here's every word Emery said in his press conference...

How are you feeling after the game?

“Difficult match. We are ready to play another 90 minutes, we played the first 90 minutes and didn’t control the game like we wanted and we were defensively doing more work than we prepared before because we wanted to take control of the game. But with the respect we have of them they showed it.

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“The result is tight but I think more or less it was fair for both teams. Now, another 90 minutes to enjoy playing Europe. We’re ready to play 90 minutes, or even extra time or even penalty shoot because everything in this moment is difficult.”

How do you assess the goals?

"The three goals were set pieces. Both two for us and one for them. Of course, set pieces are very important and we have been strong but defensively sometimes we have struggled more than I want. We know now another 90 minutes being positive and being demanding for the next match in Lille.

“Of course, they are very focused, they are competitive and have structure playing, tactically good. There we are going to try and extend with another 90 minutes, understanding our game plan there and to be clinical as well.”

What were you telling Ollie Watkins in the first half?

“I was reminding him of the game plan when they were doing some tactical movement, dropping some midfielders and trying to help them in the build-up. We needed to set up better our positioning on the pitch to try and avoid it.”

What was said at half time to choreograph John McGinn’s goal?

“The objective was today to win firstly. Second, to try to have an advantage winning but of course respecting them always. We scored two goals, we were more or less controlling in the second half better than the first. We needed the goalkeeper in the first half – Emiliano was playing fantastic saving some attacks from them.

“In the second half, we were trying to get better and we scored a second goal which is good. 2-0 is better than 2-1 but they are a good team and have very good set pieces. They scored their goal and we have to accept it, now again trying to enjoy preparing for the second leg and enjoy preparing for the match on Sunday at Arsenal. We try to rest, to recover, to analyse deeply with the players.”

What could the players have done better to stop the goal?

“Set pieces are very important and the away team has a good structure to try to threat us, blocking players and trying to use the power. We have to try to be demanding ourselves, to prepare as good as possible and try to defend everything. But sometimes the opponent has power and they can score. But we keep going, we move on and analyse this deeply for the second leg, being ready to play.”

In France there’s controversy with penalty shootouts - do you work on them in training?

“Yes, sometimes we are working it but we are going to try to play 90 minutes but be ready to play extra time and even a penalty shoot. We have to work everything to get there and beat them.”

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