Express & Star

Leon Bailey explains why the job Unai Emery has done at Aston Villa is so impressive

Leon Bailey believes Unai Emery has helped every player at Villa hit new heights as they continue to target Champions League football.


Saturday’s win at Fulham launched Emery’s men back into the top four ahead of this weekend’s Midlands derby with Nottingham Forest.

Winger Bailey has been among the season’s biggest success stories, recovering from two underwhelming campaigns following a £25million move from Bayer Leverkusen.

The 26-year-old, who signed a new contract earlier this month, has scored 10 goals in all competitions and says Emery’s management is the reason for the improvement.

He said: “You can see he has improved every single player at the club. Not just the club but the staff. Everything around this club, he has improved.

“He knew I had a lot more to give when I first came in. At the beginning of the season we did have a discussion. He said to me: ‘Listen Leon, I know you have a lot more to give and I want you to be more consistent with your game’.

“We have very strong discussions. It is always positive. I have to be professional and I am a mature enough person to understand when somebody is trying to help you and when someone is trying to be harsh.

“I have never got that feeling from him. It has always been trying to lift my spirits and raise my confidence. He’s done that.

“Competing next season in the Champions League would be amazing. That is the goal, the aim.”