Emery's respect for Reds stars

Friday 09 February 2024 15:35

Aston Villa head coach Unai Emery has revealed some of the players he feels could do his team damage in Sunday's Premier League showdown.

The 16:30 GMT kick-off presents an opportunity to close the gap on the fourth-placed Midlanders, who had been unbeatable at home before successive Villa Park losses to Newcastle United and, in Wednesday's Emirates FA Cup replay, Chelsea.

Emery believes United are in a better place than when we came from two goals down to beat Villa at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, and he is an admirer of Casemiro's talents in the midfield.

However, he feels there are others who can cause his side problems on the day.

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"We have to try to stop them," he said at his pre-match press conference on Friday. "Starting with the goalkeeper [Andre Onana] because his build-up is fantastic. Their centre-backs like to play, building up and controlling ball possession, trying to get good combinations on the pitch.

"Luke Shaw is very dangerous and Diogo Dalot is in a good moment. Casemiro is a very important player for them. They have very good wingers and strikers and that is my concern.

"On Sunday, we’re going to play a different match against Manchester United [to Old Trafford]. They are recovering some very important players for them, one of them is Casemiro.

"They are going to feel stronger and concerned about the important game in this moment because we are in front of them. They are contenders more than us to be in the top four or five positions. The reality is we are being consistent, and even losing [on Sunday], we will be in front of them.”

Emery also supplied an update on his team news for the big game, stressing there were no fresh problems after the 3-1 reverse to Chelsea, and a new face in the squad in the shape of January signing Joe Gauci, the Australia international.

"We have a new goalkeeper, Joe Gauci," declared the Spaniard. "The players who had injuries are recovering, Lucas [Digne] and Pau Torres. Ezri Konsa and Jhon Duran are still out.

"I think all the other players will be available for Sunday."

Tyrone Mings and Emi Buendia are, however, long-term absentees.