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Unai Emery admits Aston Villa missed ‘key opportunity’ to show top-seven credentials

Aston Villa head coach Unai Emery admits his side missed the opportunity to show they can be among the top seven teams in the Premier League after losing against Nottingham Forest.

Aston Villa’s six-match unbeaten run in all competitions came to an end after a 2-0 defeat away from home against Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

“Today was a key moment. if we could really be a contender to be in the top seven teams and we lost the opportunity,” Emery said. “I believe in the players, I know they can but we have to be very demanding. We can’t concede chances like we did today.

“If we want to be in the top seven teams we have to try to reduce the mistakes we made today.

“The key moment in 38 matches is every match. Today was a key moment to take some distance with the other teams and get in the top-four positions. But we lost this opportunity, now the next match against Fulham next week is a challenge and it is again a key moment.”

The Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez who won the best goalkeeper in the world, at last week’s Ballon d’Or ceremony, made a mistake on Forest’s second goal. However, Emery refused to blame his goalkeeper.

Emery added: “We are human and we can make a mistake. I never punish the mistakes of the players because I want to try to get the confidence of everybody, practising, trying to do everything well and when we are facing other teams we have to be better than them.

“But never punishing mistakes, not only for Emiliano, for everybody.”

Nottingham Forest earned their first Premier League win since September 2 by beating Aston Villa.

Forest coach Steve Cooper said: “The players massively followed the game plan. I said to them, I’ve got real gratitude to them for committing to the plan we put in place.

“We came up against a really in-form team with loads of good players and an excellent manager. You have to respect them, but you have to look at a plan where you can win.

“I’m really pleased that the goals we scored were from how we thought we could create chances. Once you get there, you want the players to back themselves to convert.

“Even though they had a lot of the ball, I never really thought we would concede. I never felt the goal was getting peppered. Defensively, we were excellent, both tactically and our defensive intuition backed up with desire and commitment.

“I’m really pleased with the players. They showed a great attitude to the plan. It was an incredible atmosphere to support the players’ performance. I thought today was a really good example of what we’ve become over the last couple of years. and I think that needs a bit of recognition.”

Sam Barton
Sam Barton
Sam Barton fell in love with football during the 98 World Cup and has been fascinated by it ever since. The tactical side of the game is what truly inspires him to think, read and write about football, making him the ideal football writer.
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