Express & Star

John McGinn: Unai Emery helping Aston Villa players unlock strengths

John McGinn claims Unai Emery is helping Villa’s players unlock strengths they never knew existed as they look to continue their resurgence against Wolves tomorrow.


Sunday’s 2-0 win at Tottenham was Villa’s third win in four Premier League matches since Emery took charge and skipper McGinn, who struggled for form during the early part of the season, is one of several players who appears improved under the Spaniard.

Asked about reasons for the turnaround, the Scot replied: “It comes with confidence and the manager has given us a lot of that.

“There is a clear way of playing. Some players are in positions which are a little bit unfamiliar but he is finding strengths in people’s games we probably didn’t realise ourselves.

“He gives us a clear plan and it’s down to us to implement it properly. He is a top class manager and we just have to take on board what he is saying.

“He has a clear message to stay humble and that is what we will do. If we keep putting in the effort we have quality to hurt teams at the other end. Sunday showed that. He is stressing we have a big game Wednesday now to try and keep this going.”

McGinn, who is hoping to recover from a hamstring problem in time to face Wolves, found himself out of the starting XI when Emery first arrived.

He said: “The challenge is to try and get yourself back in (the team). You can cry about it or get your head down and do what you do best.

“Every time I play for Villa I give 100 per cent and whether that is centre mid, up front or right wing I will do what the manager asks. Thankfully I am coming on to some better form.”

The recent run has seen Villa pull eight points clear of the relegation zone and within striking distance of the top half but McGinn warned: “We are (looking up) but we also need to be careful we don’t get carried away.

“It wasn’t that long ago we were only a few positions off the bottom. If we’d lost on Sunday we would still be in that little pack. We need to stay humble, stay focused. Yes, we can look ahead and dream a little bit but we also need to be careful.”