Aston Villa Boss calls on Players to show ‘Personality’ after ‘strange’ first-leg defeat in Europa Conference League


Aston Villa manager, Unai Emery has called on his players to show ‘personality’ in the second leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League semi-final after describing the circumstances behind his side’s 4-2 defeat in the first leg as “strange” and “not normal”.

Villa fought back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 at home but the away side Olympiacos restored their two-goal cushion when Ayoub El Kaabi completed his hat-trick from the spot before Santiago Hezze’s deflected strike found the net.

Skipper John McGinn, said “everything that could have gone wrong did” in the aftermath and ahead of the decisive second leg, live on TNT Sports.

Unai Emery gave a similar answer when asked if he was surprised by the Olympiacos performance.

“Not surprised, I know their coach and I appreciate him and he was always successful in Spain,” he told TNT Sports.

“I know more or less his teams and how they play. I watch the same style with his Olympiacos in the first leg but there were different circumstances in 90 minutes and they went more for them than us.

“They deserved to win but there were some strange circumstances in the 90 minutes. It was not normal.

“It’s not a surprise but it’s not normal for our performance during the year.”

Aston Villa lost 4-2 at the Villa Park in the first-leg

The result means the that Premier League outfit now have a tough task to overcome if they are to reach a first major European final since 1982.

They are also the last English team in European competition with a chance of lifting silverware this season but Emery insists they will have to be better at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.

The Spaniard wants to see his side play with the “personality” that has put them on the verge of securing a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League.

“We are motivated even losing the first leg,” he added. “We didn’t play well but we have to try and understand overall the season how we were performing with our style with the players we have.

“Now we are at the end of the season and we are preparing everything trying to do our best tomorrow and changing.

“Before the first leg we were speaking about our possibilities to get to the final and now it’s clear after the first leg they are the favourites, and we accept now tomorrow is going to be very difficult here away.

“But of course we are ready to play tomorrow and to give our best performance.

“Everything starts in your mind and then with our capacity on the pitch. We have to respect them, but we’ve lost a little bit the respect of them because they won the first leg clearly.

“But tomorrow we’ll play with our personality and try to be stronger overall tactically in defence and in attack.”

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