Paulo Fonseca makes interesting Aston Villa and PSG comparison as he reveals Lille plan

Paulo Fonseca believes his team will have to play the perfect game to take a positive result from Villa Park on Thursday
Paulo Fonseca believes his team will have to play the perfect game to take a positive result from Villa Park on Thursday -Credit:Photo by Hugo Pfeiffer/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Paulo Fonseca believes Aston Villa will be the second best team Lille will face this season after PSG.

The Portuguese sat down with the media at Villa Park ahead of Thursday night’s Europa Conference League quarter final first leg and lauded Ollie Watkins in particular, revealing that he has a big plan to stop the striker.

“I believe a lot in our centre-backs, but I know he is an amazing striker,” Fonseca said. “He is hard to stop and he is in a great moment. We have prepared the game that he won’t get many chances. For me, he is one of the best strikers in Europe at the moment.”

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Lille midfielder Hakon Arnar Haraldsson was also in attendance on Wednesday night and spoke about Villa's forward, who has bagged 18 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League season. He said: “I look at a really good number nine, he is really fast and good with both feet. He is an amazing player and we will have to be aware of him tomorrow."

The French club have been boosted by the return of Angel Gomes, who has made strong progress from a hamstring injury. He has travelled with his teammates to Birmingham, but will not start the first leg.

Lille have been in impressive form without the former Manchester United starlet and have won their last two games against Lens and Marseille. But Fonseca is expecting another level of challenge at Villa Park on Thursday night.

"We could say Villa are the strongest team, perhaps they are the main candidate to win the competition," he admitted. "As for this word ‘favourite’, when we look at 90 minutes on the pitch, we’ll see the quality of the teams.

"It’s not important to say who is or isn’t the favourites. We know Villa is a really strong team with a really good coach, but we just need to go out there and play our own game, believe in our abilities to play against this big team. After PSG they are probably the strongest team.

"For me, Unai is one of the best coaches in the world. He has had an amazing career. What he is doing at Villa is amazing. His team plays very well. He is a coach who I love a lot and he is one of the best coaches in the world, without a doubt."

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