Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has conceded that a draw was a fair result in our encounter with West Ham on Sunday.
Ollie Watkins gave us the lead with an excellent headed finish after 17 minutes, but that was cancelled out by a Said Benrahma penalty not long after as the two sides both had chances.
READ MORE: Five key talking points as Villa secure hard-fought point vs West Ham
While we perhaps edged the first half and posed a real threat at times while looking more in control of proceedings, West Ham improved after the break and will be frustrated themselves that they couldn’t find a breakthrough to secure all three points.
Nevertheless, there were more positive signs from a Villa perspective despite the possible disappointment over not being able to claim a victory, as we continue to look hard to beat on the road and ended a poor run of results against the Hammers.
As ever, Emery was both forthcoming and realistic in his assessment of the game and bigger picture, but it’s clear that he was happier with our first-half performance, and less so with the second.
“We are being competitive again away, and we didn’t win but we played very good in the same idea that we are trying to build,” he told VillaTV. “We tried to keep ball possession, tried to be efficient in our build-up, and, in this way, try to be better than the opponent.
“Today, the first half our control was good and we had chances to score the second goal. In the second half, we lost a bit of control.
“We have to be happy; we have to be proud of our supporters as well because they were here supporting us.
“It’s a draw – it’s not the best, it’s not the worst but I think it’s a fair result because we didn’t deserve more than this draw.
“Our challenge now is to be consistent at home and to be a team improving, showing with our supporters that every match is very important.
“We want to share with them our improvements, and Saturday is going to be a very good challenge to show it.”
Control has been of major importance ever since Emery arrived, and there are certainly more consistent and positive signs that the Villa players are implementing and executing that now as we look more patient, composed and measured in what we’re doing in possession.
Naturally, there is still improvement needed both in our defensive work and to be consistent with that approach over 90 minutes to also speed up our passing and build-up play in the final third to create openings, but the element of games being back-and-forth and too open is reducing, as we look to impose ourselves better and dictate the tempo.
We’ll need to follow it up again next weekend against Bournemouth at home, but this was a battling point that showed further indications of progress and improvement away, thus resulting in the largely positive reaction from Emery above.