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Emery ‘optimistic’ ahead of United

Unai Emery believes that his Aston Villa side is good enough to get a result against Manchester United this weekend.

He said: “I believe in our way and how we are facing each match in the Premier League.

“Even being consistent, sometimes we are not getting our good performances but, overall, we are doing it.

“On Sunday, I’m optimistic.

“I know the preparation from minute one to minute 90 and how we have to play the match being very focused, being respectful of them and playing an intelligent match.”

Emery picks out United threats

Unai Emery has also analysed three Manchester United players as threats to his team.

He said: “My concern and analysis of them is trying to understand their gameplan and to understand their qualities, collectively and individually.

“We have to try to stop them, starting with the goalkeeper 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.

“The most important thing for me, individually and collectively, as a coach is to prepare trying to stop them.”

Emery to play ‘different game’

Unai Emery has insisted that he has a different plan to face Manchester United after losing the reverse fixture.

He said: “I forgot it because each match has different circumstances.

“We played and we lost; we analysed deeply with the players and tried to improve after it.

“On Sunday we’re going to play a different match against Manchester United. 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.”

Credit: Getty

Merson makes U-turn for United prediction

Paul Merson has admitted he has changed his mind when predicting the outcome between Manchester United and Aston Villa.

He told Sportskeeda: “Two weeks ago, I’d have said Aston Villa straight away as they were on a run of 15 successive wins at home.

“Their last two home games at Villa Park barring the Sheffield United one have been worrying, to say the least.

“Manchester United, on the other hand, have so much pace on the counter-attack and are feeling good again, so I can’t see Villa dealing with their threat.

“I usually never fancy Manchester United away from home, but I think Villa have been sussed out at home in recent weeks, so I’m going for a 2-2 draw. However, if I had to pick a winner, I would go for Manchester United.”

Ten Hag on Villa

Erik ten Hag has insisted that the match against Aston Villa should be considered as important as a final.

He said: “I have said to the team from the start of January that every game is now a final.

“That was also our approach to West Ham United – we were one point behind them so this is a final.

“So let’s take this challenge. We have to see this as a final.

“That will be every game from now on, for us. We are already in that mood.”

Update on Martinez

Erik ten Hag has given an update on Lisandro Martinez and hopes the defender will be back before the end of the season.

The manager said: “You see his contribution to the team when he is playing so he brings, apart from his technical skills, also a mentality in the team.

“It is a big setback for Licha. He is very disappointed, but he is a fighter and he will back, he will be back stronger.

“We think he will still be back by the end of the season.”

Credit: AP

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