Express & Star

Unai Emery: Soft penalty cost Aston Villa

Unai Emery felt Villa were victims of a “very soft” penalty decision as they were forced to settle for a point at West Ham.

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery gestures on the touchline

Ollie Watkins’ sixth goal in seven matches had Villa on course for a win which would have further boosted hopes of European qualification but they were pegged back when Leon Bailey was adjudged to have fouled Lucas Paqueta and Said Benrahma smashed home from the spot.

Emery said: “I watched it and I respect the referee 100 per cent but my opinion today is it was a very soft penalty.”

The Spaniard claimed not to have seen a second half incident when Villa’s Emi Buendia was denied a penalty after falling under the challenge of Declan Rice.

Despite his disappointment at the one which was awarded, he felt the draw was a fair result.

“I am happy. We knew before the match was going to be difficult.

“After the first half I thought we maybe deserved more. We controlled the game and scored the first goal but they pushed as well and had chances.

“The second half was more open than I wanted but we were controlling well and maybe there was a moment to win the match. But in the end I think it was a fair result.”