Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has confirmed that Philippe Coutinho missed the win over Man Utd due to an injury.
Villa secured a 3-1 victory over the Red Devils at Villa Park on Sunday with a memorable performance, as Emery started his reign with three important points to provide an immediate lift for all concerned.
As with any arrival of a new coach, the squad would have been aware that there was a clean slate for all, and so naturally every player would have been desperate to make a positive early impression on the Spanish tactician.
Unfortunately for Coutinho, it appears as though he will have to be patient and wait until after the break for the World Cup now as Emery confirmed that his absence on Sunday was due to injury as it was notable that he wasn’t even on the bench.
“Coutinho is injured,” Emery said, as per BirminghamLive. “I don’t know how long it will be but, today, he couldn’t play and he’s not going to play until after the break. It’s a muscular injury. He’s not going to play on Thursday or Sunday because he’s injured and he’s out longer.”
That’s a cruel blow for the 30-year-old playmaker, not only in terms of his ability to scrap for a starting spot in the Villa XI in the next two games and beyond, but also for his hopes of making the Brazil squad for the World Cup in Qatar.
Given the start the likes of Leon Bailey, Emiliano Buendia and Jacob Ramsey made under Emery on Sunday, if they are able to maintain that level and continue to impress heading into the break, Coutinho could have a real fight on his hands to displace one of them.
Naturally though with the cup competitions in mind too, the Villa boss will need to rotate and call on his entire squad to contribute, and so it’s hoped that Coutinho now makes a quick recovery and is able to work on his comeback over the festive period ready to make an impact after Christmas.