Express & Star

Lille boss takes swipe at Aston Villa set piece tactics

Frustrated Lille boss Paulo Fonseca questioned Villa’s “basketball” tactics at corners after his team’s Europa Conference League quarter-final first leg defeat.


The visiting team were adamant Ollie Watkins’ 13th minute opener should have been chalked off for a foul by Morgan Rogers.

Villa went on to win the match 2-1 thanks to John McGinn’s second half strike, though Bafode Diakite’s late goal means the tie is very much alive heading to next week’s second leg.

“I don’t understand what’s happening at the moment, I don’t understand how it’s possible to foul in the area,” said Fonseca.

“I understand it’s difficult for the ref but with VAR it’s incredible they miss these things.

“It’s not good what’s going on for football here, they must look at what’s going on at the moment.

“It’s not football, it’s blocking like in basketball. The first goal was a clear foul and a clear block.”

Fonseca, whose team will have a full week to prepare for the second leg after being allowed to postpone this weekend’s league match at Monaco, believes they still have the chance to progress through to the last four.

Were it not for Emi Martinez, they would have returned to France either level or ahead. The World Cup winning goalkeeper made three one-on-one saves in the first half alone, while Gabriel Gudmundsson also saw a goal ruled out by VAR for a marginal offside call.

“I’m satisfied with the courage of my players but at the end of the day, we’ve lost,” said Fonseca.

“After that I know that it’s a difficult match, they’ve got great players, a great coach and a lot of experience so they have certain advantages. But I must continue to believe it’s possible (to win).”