Express & Star

Unai Emery salutes 'fantastic' performance from key Aston Villa player

Unai Emery saluted “fantastic” Emi Martinez after the goalkeeper’s stunning saves helped Villa earn a point in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Bournemouth.


Martinez twice denied Dominic Solanke at point-blank range and kept out an Antoine Semenyo shot with his fingertips as Villa lived dangerously at the Vitality Stadium.

Though both Semenyo and Solanke did find the net, Villa were twice able to get back on terms through Leon Bailey and a 90th minute equaliser from Ollie Watkins.

Emery said of Martinez: "He is fantastic, fantastic. He is not happy because we conceded two goals but he was fantastic.

“He saved two times very important moments and that was very important to believe through his individual performance as well.”

Asked if he would prefer the goalkeeper to be less busy, he replied: "I want to score a lot of goals and I want to stop conceding the opportunity to score.

“Our objective is to be strong defensively and to keep a clean sheet, but the reality is in the last matches were are not doing it.

“It’s our work every day to improve and try to analyse and to get better. In case like the last matches, when we are conceding goals but scoring lots of goals, then I am happy. I want, like today, for Ollie Watkins to score, Leon Bailey to score. It is positive. Our only objective is to win.”

Emery thought the point was a good one for Villa in a match where they also had their chances and saw a Diego Carlos goal ruled out for offside, following a lengthy VAR check.

Villa remain fourth in the Premier League table heading into back-to-back matches with champions Manchester City and current leaders Arsenal.

“Of course, it’s not the best result but its not the worst,” said Emery. “In the first half we started very well but they scored and it was a difficult moment.

“We reacted very well and drew level. We had chances and so did they, VAR refused one goal from us and in the second half we started with the same resilience.

“They scored and it was more difficult but again in the end it was brilliant how we are trying to be consistent in 90 minutes and never give and up and be in the match. It’s a very good point for us and we have to accept it.”