Aston Villa boss Unai Emery was full of praise for Douglas Luiz after our 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday, with the Brazilian midfielder playing an influential role.
Aside from his goal which broke the deadlock early on, Luiz was excellent in the midfield battle as he helped us to dictate the tempo of the game and dominate possession.
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His composure, technical quality and distribution are key characteristics in us establishing a style of play and way of playing under Emery, and so it’s no surprise that the Spanish tactician is delighted with the impact that he is having both collectively and individually.
If he can add more assists and goals to his game, the 24-year-old’s impact will only grow further, while he’s shown leadership and class in adapting to a new midfield partner in recent weeks too with John McGinn shifting inside to fill the void left by Boubacar Kamara after his injury setback.
Luiz certainly made a positive impression on Emery this weekend, as the Villa boss singled him out for praise and explained why he is so important for him.
“Today, I am very happy with Douglas Luiz. His skill, characteristic in the squad is very important,” he told the media, as quoted by BirminghamLive. “Every match he is very focused on how we can manage 90 minutes keeping ball possession, keeping good positioning, taking our time with our central midfielder and his characteristic is necessary in this team. Today was the match, I think, overall with the performances, was the best with us since I arrived here.
“His improvement is to be strong in the structure I am creating. Offensively, strong structure trying to occupy good spaces, trying to take passion to get the ball to them.
“Don’t lose this structure offensively then, when we have to react defensively as well, he’s in very good positions to start pressing against them. Of course, sometimes we can have more possession of the ball, sometimes less.
“The idea is to try and keep ball possession for a long time. If we are not doing it, we have to keep our structure defensively strong. We’re being very competitive starting in our structure. Away from home we’re showing it. At home, there’s not the balance I want.”
That’s also an important point that Emery makes in terms of Luiz’s influence defensively, as we saw on Saturday how his positioning and awareness allowed him to step in and win possession back further up the pitch.
Further, when Villa were on the back-foot at times too, he was able to provide a level of protection in front of the backline along with McGinn, and so he was vital in both phases of the game without needing to necessarily be physical, but was effective with his understanding and reading of the game.
His challenge now is to continue to be consistent with that, and while we hope Kamara can return after the international break, his partnership with the Frenchman will continue to be a fundamental part of what Emery is trying to implement, and if we can find the right balance, it will hopefully lead to many more important and impressive performances such as this one.