What Unai Emery said after interrupting John McGinn interview as Aston Villa enjoy remarkable week

Aston Villa have a six-point cushion in the top four after beating Bournemouth at Villa Park
Aston Villa have a six-point cushion in the top four after beating Bournemouth at Villa Park -Credit:Photo by Danehouse Photography Ltd/Getty Images

In the space of 72 hours, Aston Villa have taken two big steps forward in their pursuit of silverware and Champions League qualification this season.

Having gone all the way against Lille to book their place in a European semi-final on Thursday night, Unai Emery's side were greeted by thousands on the Trinity Road on Sunday afternoon as fans were called on to make the difference after a gruelling Europa Conference League quarter-final ahead of their seventh game in the space of three weeks against Bournemouth.

It speaks volumes of Villa's character and mentality that they even came back from a goal behind at Villa Park, as Dominic Solanke converted from the penalty spot in the 31st minute. But the home crowd rallied behind Villa and their support made a real difference - everybody knew what a win could do for the complexion of Villa's season.

After Morgan Rogers restored parity before the break, Ollie Watkins grabbed two assists for Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey to seal three crucial points. Villa have the incentive of moving nine points clear of Tottenham next weekend when they host Chelsea on Saturday, before Sunday's north London derby.

READ | Every word Unai Emery said after Aston Villa's 3-1 win, Watkins, Bailey and Chelsea preparation

READ | John Townley's Aston Villa player ratings as 3-1 win over Bournemouth fuels Champions League dream

Here are the talking points from Villa's win over Bournemouth...


Since November 11, only the Premier League’s top four teams have won more points than Bournemouth, who were very unlucky not to beat Villa in the reverse meeting back in December. This had all the hallmarks of a tricky game for Villa, given their lack of rest and Bournemouth's ability to press and set traps across the pitch.

Ezri Konsa was excellent alongside Pau Torres, who could pick passes to beat the Cherries' press. Youri Tielemans was outstanding at the base of midfield too, allowing the likes of Watkins, Morgan Rogers and Bailey to spring on the break when he'd find angles for passes in behind.

The 3-1 victory is Villa's 20th Premier League win of the season, which is the first time they’ve done so since the first ever campaign in 1992-93. After full-time, Emery hailed the role which the supporters played to help his players through another testing 90 minutes.

"It's been a fantastic week:" Emery told Villa TV. "The fans made a great atmosphere, which was necessary as well. We were excited and motivated. We played thinking of them [the fans].

"It was difficult because we played well, serious and took control of the game more than them. It was a big effort. Now, we will have more challenges to get fourth and we will fight against Tottenham. We are at the end of the season very motivated."


After shaking hands with Andoni Iraola once referee Tim Robinson blew up for full-time, Emery went on his way down the tunnel, and gave in to some high fives from younger supporters near the exit. He had a huge smile, so proud of his players and the shift they put in to not only win the game, but come back from behind too.

As usual, Emery was conducting the game from the touchline, applauding his players and encouraging them to dig deep. Shortly after Villa scored their third goal, John McGinn played a loose ball towards Tielemans, which was cut out and left Villa vulnerable at the back.

The Villa skipper atoned for his mistake by winning the ball back with a firm tackle. On his haunches, he gave a hand of apology to Emery, who had jumped up on the sidelines, shouting at his captain for not taking care of the ball with Villa in a dominant position.

In the mixed zone nearly an hour after the game had finished, McGinn was conducting an interview when Emery interrupted, slapping him on the back, smiling and said: “Super John McGinn! He’s not always, but he was today!"

McGinn admitted that he had an off night in Lille on Thursday, but whether he's having a good game or not, he always gives 100 per cent effort and demands that from his teammates too.



He might not have got on the scoresheet this afternoon, but Watkins was absolutely unplayable in the second half. He battled well against Illia Zabarnyi in the first period, but taught the 21-year-old a lesson after half-time.

After making the third goal for Bailey, Watkins didn't get up off the floor having rounded Neto before squaring across the box. He set the tone from the front and now has 31 Premier League goal contributions for Villa this season (19 goals, 12 assists).

He’s only the ninth English player to score or assist 30+ goals in a 38-game season. His 12 assists have been bettered by just one Villa player in a single season – Ashley Young in 2007-08 (14).

His terrific season is a large reason why Villa have scored 71 Premier League goals this season - their joint most in a campaign in the competition, also scoring 71 in 2007-08.

Iraola said of Watkins in his press conference: "He's an amazing player. Amazing player. He's not only about goals. He gives them a lot. He pins centre-backs, attacks spaces. He creates a lot. He didn't score, but he probably deserved to. He gives more than numbers."

Watkins came into the game one goal shy of equalling Dwight Yorke as Villa's second-highest Premier League goalscorer on 60, with Gabby Agbonlahor leading on 74. Watkins was also vying to become the first Villa player to score 20 goals in a top-flight season since Peter Withe in 1980-81.

As the Villa player made their way back to the dressing room after full-time, Watkins said: “How did I not score!”

Moussa Diaby celebrates with Ollie Watkins after putting Aston Villa in the lead
Moussa Diaby celebrates with Ollie Watkins after putting Aston Villa in the lead -Credit:Photo by Danehouse Photography Ltd/Getty Images


Diaby now has 13 league goal involvements for the season after putting Villa in front against Bournemouth in the 57th minute. He made up for his earlier miss when Bailey rolled the ball across the box, but Diaby couldn't quite sort his feet out to finish from close range.

"I'm very happy today because it was such a strong performance," Diaby told Sky Sports. "We need to play well to get three points at home in front of our fans. The race for Champions League, it is a good win and a chance to get more points.

"We know Bournemouth is a good team. A lot of contact, but we had to stay calm to score our first goal. After the second half, we had a really good half, and we scored two goals."

Speaking about Watkins' form, Diaby added: "Everyone knows Ollie is a very good striker. He helped the team a lot with a lot of goals, a lot of assists. [He had] a good game today and I am happy for him even if he does not score. I am sure he will score in the next game."


Diaby also spoke of Rogers' development after another impressive showing. The 21-year-old is yet to even make his 10th Premier League appearance, but he looks at home in the top-flight already.

He has recorded three goal contributions in his last four matches, scoring in the last two home matches against Brentford and Bournemouth.

"Morgan is a good player, he came in January, helped the team," Diaby said. "He can play left wing and second striker and today [he had] a strong performance. [He] scored the second goal and I hope he will score more goals."

Rogers made one chance, recorded 41 touches, nine of which were in the penalty box and also played seven passes into the final third, as well as scoring late in the first half.


Bournemouth boss Iraola admitted that his side had to take all of their chances against Villa given their quality in the final third.

"We had a very good first half, it was difficult against Villa but we were doing the things we wanted," Iraola told Match of the Day. "We couldn’t find this level in the second half.

"They have top forwards in really good form - Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey, Moussa Diaby. We were taking the risk and leaving bigger spaces and couldn’t deal with the situation.

"You have to take your chances against this type of opposition in this type of stadium. We probably should damage them more, like the past week against Manchester United. Second half things became more difficult. We weren’t as solid and they pushed us a lot running back so it was more difficult to attack."

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