Express & Star

Unai Emery hails key Aston Villa trait after winning thriller

Unai Emery saluted Villa’s character after they snatched a dramatic late win at Luton.


Lucas Digne headed an 89th minute winner as Villa edged a five-goal thriller at Kenilworth Road to keep their Champions League challenge on track.

Two goals from Ollie Watkins appeared to have the visitors cruising but they were pegged back when Tahith Chong and Carlton Morris netted for the hosts, before Digne came off the bench to win it at the death.

Emery said: “We showed character and mentality. The first half we played very well and controlled the game.

“Then we were angry after conceding chances and we didn’t keep the ball like in the first half. The consequences were that we struggled defensively.

“Then, we reacted fantastic. We introduced the substitutes who had a brilliant impact. They have a big commitment to help the team.”

Watkins’ brace took his Premier League tally for the season to 16, a new personal best.

The striker, who has scored six in his last six league games, was also denied twice by keeper Thomas Kaminski and hit the post as Villa dominated the opening half.

“It is difficult to find players with a better mentality than his,” said Emery. “Then, his quality and skills are high. He wants to learn every day to increase his level.

“His first objective is to help the team scoring goals, but he understands as well tactically being clever how he can apply our tactical idea.

“I don’t know about outside here, but if we are now fourth in the table it is for everybody. But his impact as well helping us is high. He wants to progress and wants to learn. This is the mentality I want of all the players.”

Emery, meanwhile, confirmed Jacob Ramsey will be assessed after the midfielder was forced off with a foot injury before the half-hour mark.

“We are going to check him,” said Emery. “It’s strange because he was feeling something before he got injured in his foot. Until tomorrow, it is difficult to know if it is relevant.”