Unai Emery has called on his Aston Villa side to prove their shock FA Cup defeat to Stevenage at the weekend was a one off when they get back to Premier League action against Leeds this evening.
Under the Spaniard Villa have suffered just one defeat in their past five matches in the Premier League, and even during that sole loss at Liverpool impressed. So to say that the giant-killing defeat at the hands of the League Two side on Sunday was as unexpected as it was shocking is something of an understatement.
But keen to get back on track and extend the good run in the top flight Emery has told his players he expects a response against Leeds.
“I’m expecting, every day, the response on the training ground and in our conversations. We arrived two months ago and we are doing some things so quickly – tactically, defensively, being organised,” the Spaniard, who replaced Steven Gerrard in October, said.
“We have to progress in changing our mentality and being aggressive in our ambition. The players are so open to work with their application and they are committed to everything we’re trying to do.
“Sometimes we can have very good results and very good performances but sometimes, like on Sunday, we didn’t play like I want. It was an accident and it was an unusual match we played.
“The first response is Friday and I’m so, so excited to be with our supporters again at home. I think we have to use our supporters to be stronger.”
Emery and Villa will have to do without John McGinn (hamstring), Diego Carlos (Achilles) and Leander Dendoncker (suspended) tonight, with Matty Cash a doubt.
Leeds, while not suffering a giant killing, also didn’t have it their own way in the cup last weekend. They scored in the last minute to avoid a humbling by Championship side Cardiff. But Jesse Marsch made seven changes for that clash and skipper Liam Cooper and goalkeeper Illan Meslier are expected to be back in contention after recovering from muscle strains.
Stay here for all the team news, pre-match analysis and action, which is due to get under way at 8pm.
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