Latest Aston Villa news from BirminghamLive as Unai Emery explains why he will not change his tactical approach despite Tyrone Mings injury.
Unai Emery admits Aston Villa’s ability to play a high line effectively has been impacted by the loss of Tyrone Mings to injury.
The centre-back sustained a serious knee injury in the opening weekend defeat at Newcastle United, and Emery’s side have shipped seven goals since he left the pitch on a stretcher at St. James’ Park. His side have experienced some teething issues at the start of this season while trying to catch opponents offside after finding success from playing a high line last term.
In the final 14 games of the last season, no team caught their opponent offside more times than Villa (63), and in every Premier League game which Emery took charge of bar the defeats to Arsenal and Manchester City, Villa won more offsides than the opposition.
Mings played in all but one game under Emery last season, and was partnered in central defence with Ezri Konsa in each match. Alex Moreno also started all but one of the club’s final 14 games, and has missed the start of this season through injury, while Ashley Young featured regularly in the back four too, and has since left the club.
Villa kept seven clean sheets from the start of their 10-match unbeaten run in February to the end of the season, and didn’t concede more than one goal in a game. Their push to finish in the top seven was built on solid foundations, but after Mings’ injury and a few tactical tweaks, the offside trap has caused some problems in the first weeks of the season.
“Last year with the players we had I was very happy with how they were working,” Emery said. “They were so competitive and they increased their levels a lot. Tyrone Mings was very important in that process.
“But now we have new players like Pau Torres and Lenglet – last year Diego Carlos was injured. But we have to do the same work.
“Of course I know that we are some distance from the expectation I have for this team and some players. Every player can improve and every player has to improve – I have this idea in my mind.
“I have to be demanding of them but I have to try and support them in the process. Like last year it is a process and of course we lost two matches to Newcastle away and Liverpool away.
“Those matches we didn’t reach the level we have to play at and I could understand that for now, they are better than us. But then we won two matches away at Burnley and at Everton and we played really very well.”
He added: “We can be successful against Everton, Hibernian and Burnley. We were not speaking about the things we did well. Of course when we lost to Newcastle and Liverpool we went into deep analysis of those defeats.
“But we don’t change the idea we built last year. Now we are building again. At the end of the day in football you have to win.
“How you get your best performance to win is the challenge we face every day. But I don’t need to change a lot.
“The fine details we can try to improve by being very demanding on ourselves – not changing a lot of things we did well and are still doing well. That is the message I have for the players and on the pitch.
“The final result gives us all the information we need – we are positive when we win and not positive when we lose. But the idea and the style we have to be very demanding and be strong in our mentality to create it.”