A tired Villa slip up against Brighton as the final run-in takes its toll

I would say I am quite old school when discussing tiredness in football. As Unai Emery stated before if you think you are tired, your body will feel exhausted.

The truth is as a Villa fan it has been a long hard slog this campaign so I can’t imagine how the players feel. Although we have played 45 games, I guess, I always felt that adrenaline would carry us to the end.

Emery will never talk about negativity or tiredness but his counterpart Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi was under no illusions when he spoke about his team’s victory yesterday stating that tiredness was taking its toll on this injury-hit Aston Villa side.

Villa has 3, possibly 4 more games to go between now and the end of the season. The Champions League is still in our hands so we need to find a way to get over the line and make what already is a good season, a fantastic one.

Report: Brighton 1-0 Aston Villa

Villa’s side pretty much picked itself due to injuries within the squad. The only changes of note were the returns of Pau Torres and Diego Carlos who replaced Matty Cash and Clement Lenglet who dropped to the bench.

Simon Adingra caused Villa problems all afternoon and it was a sign of things to come when he forced Robin Olsen into an early save.

Emery’s side had an early penalty shout when Morgan Rodgers was brought down but the referee was quick to dismiss the foul.

Villa were struggling to settle with Thursday night’s defeat to Olympiakos playing on their minds and things went from bad to worse when Rodgers was forced off with an injury. Matty Cash had to fill in with no like-for-like options available.

The home side continued to dominate the ball without looking like a threat until late in the first half when Olsen pulled out a great save from Pascal Groß from close range.

Olsen continued to come to Villa’s rescue in the second half when Adingra, once again a threat, played João Pedro through on goal but was denied by the big Swede.

Brighton finally broke the deadlock through Groß but VAR was on Villa’s side when the goal was ruled out for a tight offside.

Villa then saw John McGinn’s strike ruled out for offside which was a more clear decision.

Brighton eventually had their chance to win the game late on when Adingra was brought down by Ezri Konsa in the penalty box, very similar to the Rodgers shout earlier in the game. The referee pointed to the spot and VAR backed him.

Olsen initially saved from Pedro’s spot-kick but the Brazilian was first to react to the rebound to give Brighton all three points.

What the managers said

Emery: “Tiredness is not an excuse for us. We lost and didn’t deserve more. We competed and were focused. We tried to get our chances.

“They were creating more chances than us and corners. We needed the goalkeeper and Robin Olsen played fantastically. Now the most important thing is to recover the players.

“We played against Arsenal two weeks ago in the same circumstances, more or less, and we won there. Today we didn’t do it and get a good result. We didn’t deserve more but we’re positive, happy and proud of our work.”

De Zerbi: “I’m proud because we played a great game against one of the best teams in the Premier League. They are fourth and playing against Unai Emery is very tough. We played a good game and deserved to win.

“We could have scored more goals but, to be honest, Villa were not the true Villa. Maybe they were tired. I can understand that because they played on Thursday evening and they have a lot of injuries. For that, they couldn’t be the true Aston Villa.”

Up Next

Aston Villa will head to Athens in an attempt to turn around their 2-4 defeat against Olympiakos on Thursday night.

Brighton will return to Premier League action next Saturday when they take on Newcastle United.


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