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Unai Emery pleased as Aston Villa return to home comforts with win over Forest

Villa had lost back-to-back games to Newcastle and Manchester United but put that right against Nottingham Forest.

Jonathan Veal
Saturday 24 February 2024 18:15 GMT
Aston Villa manager Unai Emery (Nick Potts/PA)
Aston Villa manager Unai Emery (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Wire)

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery was pleased to return to home comforts after registering a first Premier League win at Villa Park in 2024 with a 4-2 success over Nottingham Forest.

Villa had lost back-to-back games to Newcastle and Manchester United but put that right against Forest to strengthen their grip on a top-four place.

Ollie Watkins and Douglas Luiz’s double saw them cruise into a 3-0 first-half lead only for Forest to scare them with goals either side of half-time through Moussa Niakhate and Morgan Gibbs-White.

But Leon Bailey struck on the hour to give Villa breathing space and they saw it out to give themselves a cushion over the chasing pack.

Emery said: “We were very excited and very motivated after we lost two matches at home after a long time in a row winning matches here, and feeling comfortable and strong and connected with our supporters and being confident.

“But after we lost two matches a home we could have lost a little bit of our confidence and could have lost something tactically.

“But we were planning the same matches that we played against Newcastle and Manchester United, even though we lost.

“We reacted well in Sheffield (United) and reacted well against Fulham and we were focused on getting confirmation we reacted well at home.

“Firstly playing with personality and second trying to control the game with our style. First half we did fantastically and I was very happy, I was feeling comfortable and confident.

“When they scored the goal it was the only chance we conceded in the first half and we started the second half with some doubt and they scored a goal but our reaction was fantastic as well, like we did before in other matches.

“After some doubt we reacted and were again playing with personality and trying to control the game.”

Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo was left to rue “a bad performance”.

Forest were overrun in the opening 40 minutes, but still found themselves back in the game with their goals either side of half-time.

They could not complete a comeback, though, as their poor start cost them.

“We started really, really bad, the beginning of the game was bad, it was too easy for the opponent to score,” the Portuguese said.

“We didn’t play well. A very bad first half, even though the goal gave us some hope, we started the second half really well at 3-2, we had a good chance for 3-3, the game was there for us.

“Then again a bad situation that put Villa 4-2 and it was game over. To sum up, a bad performance.

“That is something we are going to work on, analyse and try to understand why and try to understand if we can be better.

“I really believe we can do better – individually and as a team because it is too easy for the opponent to score.”

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