What Emery said after Villa’s defeat to Liverpool

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery delivered his verdict on our 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Boxing Day as he understandably conceded he was disappointed.

Goals from Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk put the visitors in control at half-time, and although Ollie Watkins struck back for us on the hour mark as we piled the pressure on, it wasn’t enough to overturn our deficit as we conceded again in the latter stages which effectively killed the game.

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There were positives to take from the performance as we did cause Liverpool problems and enjoyed good spells on top in the contest, but to perhaps simplify it, we weren’t good enough at either end of the pitch and that was the difference against a top side.

Whether it was our defensive vulnerabilities against the pace on the counter attack or our attacking options not being clinical or ruthless enough in the final third to make it a completely different game, we need to improve in both areas and that will certainly be something Emery and his coaching staff will look to do.

Emery on Villa’s defeat to Liverpool

“I’m disappointed with the result but I’m happy with the attitude the players showed,” Emery told Villa TV. “Today, it was amazing with the supporters here at Villa Park: the connection, the energy they transmit to us, the support.

“We transmitted to them in some moments with good attitude, good intensity, very good skill and our effort to win.

“I’m disappointed because after the match we played over 90 minutes, we deserved more. If we were a little bit more accurate, maybe the result would be different.

“It was tough in the first half and the result (2-0) was difficult. We were speaking after the first half about how we were going to keep our game plan and try to score one goal. If we scored one goal, we would have chances to come back.

“We did it and we had chances, but their transition was dangerous because they have very good players. They scored the third goal and it was the moment the match was gone.”

Villa will now look to bounce back against Tottenham on New Year’s Day, and it’s hoped that we’ll be able to welcome back Matty Cash and Emi Martinez to the starting line-up.

Cash was an unused substitute on Monday night as he was given time to rest following on from World Cup duty this past month, while Martinez is due back in Birmingham later this week as his celebrations after Argentina’s success will wrap up.

The key duo will make a big difference to our defensive solidity, but Villa certainly need to be more accurate and show a real cutting edge in front of goal moving forward too as we look to get back on track and show more progress under Emery.

With the January transfer window now edging ever closer too, it will be fascinating to see how Emery moulds and shapes this squad into his own, and some current players may well come under pressure to keep their respective places as the Villa boss looks to address some key issues.