Express & Star

Michael Flynn excited by Walsall feel-good factor despite Aston Villa defeat

Boss Michael Flynn is excited by the 'buzz' around Walsall after seeing Bescot packed out for their pre-season friendly defeat to Villa.

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A bumper crowd of 9,409 fans – 4,027 of those from Villa – saw the Saddlers fall to a 4-0 loss to Steven Gerrard's Premier League men.

While slightly disappointed with the scoreline, Flynn took a lot of positives from the game as several new signings and a handful of trialists featured.

"With the pre-season games, we wanted to look at us out of possession," said Flynn.

"Hopefully, over the next week, we can have a look at us more in possession.

"You don't want to lose any game 4-0, but there were some good moments in the game that can give us a lot of confidence going forward.

"There were some good performances there, and a couple not so good, but it wasn't anything I didn't expect to happen.

"I thought Taylor Allen did very well. Isaac Hutchinson was outstanding.

"Take the two mistakes out of it, it's a respectable scoreline. They had a few chances, but not many clear-cut ones in the second half.

"We could have scored one or two with a little bit of luck and better decision-making.

"Villa have a fantastic squad. They have an absolute legend of a manager, who's going to have a bright career.

"I wish them well and thank them for keeping the buzz that's around the place at the minute.

"The atmosphere, nearly 10,000 fans, was outstanding.

"It's positive times at the minute, with the buzz around the place. The Trivela Group have been outstanding, and I'm building a strong relationship with them.

"The supporters as well, seeing the stadium full, it's an outstanding stadium when it's like that.

"So, a big thank you from me to them, because it got me excited."

Villa had Leon Bailey, Cameron Archer, Ollie Watkins and Douglas Luiz find the net as they put out different outfield line-ups for each half.

Walsall had five trialists play as ex-Fulham striker Timmy Abraham – the younger brother of England star Tammy, who was in attendance – and former Bradford City centre-half Ben Richards-Everton started.

Aneurin Livermore, who Flynn had at Newport County, came off the bench alongside ex-Wrexham full-back Cameron Green and young forward Jonas Mukuna.

Flynn said on Abraham: "I know what he can bring as I've had Timmy before. He's a smashing kid.

"He has blistering pace. We've just got to work on him now, technically.

"It must be hard for Timmy as he's in the shadow of his brother, who's a fantastic footballer.

"He's going to want to try harder and harder. I've got nothing bad to say about Timmy as his attitude is spot on."

On midfielder Livermore, Flynn added: "I know what exactly what he can do. He's an outstanding footballer.

"He's had a very tough week as we've been working on his conditioning.

"He's had a lot of work into his legs this week, so I'm not going to make a decision based on half an hour against Villa.

"Aneurin I know well, Ben Richards-Everton I know well, and Timmy as well.

"It is what it is. They'll have to keep working hard, and we'll see what happens."