Express & Star

One emotion for Unai Emery amid Aston Villa sticky patch

Villa boss Unai Emery felt hard done by after his side slipped to a third straight home defeat in league and cup, going down 2-1 against Manchester United.


Sunday’s clash between fifth and sixth at Villa Park began with Rasmus Hojlund – the winner when these sides met on Boxing Day – scoring in his fifth straight Premier League match.

United lost their way after that 17th-minute opener in a bright start and Villa eventually secured a deserved second-half leveller through Douglas Luiz.

But the Red Devils dug deep and Scott McTominay made it 2-1 in the 86th minute after meeting Diogo Dalot’s cross with a powerful header – his fourth Premier League goal this season from the bench.

“I want to tell you I am very proud of our work,” the Spaniard said. “I’m very proud as everything we planned before we more or less were doing on the pitch.

“We were focused on a very good opportunity to make a big gap to them, but of course no win (for us).

“We know how difficult this match was. Manchester United in the moment they are now and the last matches they won being confident. But we had control of the game, we created more chances than them, we deserved it more than them, we conceded less chances than them.

“They were clinical today, their goalkeeper was fantastic and we weren’t clinical.

“We played, maybe along with the match against Manchester City here, the best match here this season. Even from when we arrived here today, I think it was one of the best matches we’ve played but the result was not good and we have to accept it.”

Villa got back into the game through Luiz and had chances to go on and win it before United’s winner. And skipper John McGinn added: “I think I could feel us winning.

“We had chances on the break. United were breaking but not making too many chances, we defended well.

“We should be proud of the way we played compared to the other night, we were a shadow of ourselves the other night.

“We stuck to the game plan and on another day we win that.”

He added: “People have forgotten we have had huge injuries, and we are still managing to pick them up.

“That has gone under the radar and the manager is not making excuses, we have a good enough squad to cope.”