Aston Villa 3-1 Man Utd: Unai Emery goes on a flyer as Erik ten Hag makes ‘stupid’ decisions

Unai Emery replaced Steven Gerrard as Aston Villa boss last month

Over the years, there has been a sense of inevitability to Manchester United’s visit to Villa Park. But in his first 90 minutes as Aston Villa boss, Unai Emery changed all that.

The Spaniard, who took charge for the first time since replacing Steven Gerrard at the end of last month, guided his new side to their first victory at home to the Red Devils in 23 years in any competition.

It was Manchester United’s first Premier League win at Villa Park since 1995 – the game that prompted Alan Hansen to famously say of United’s future squad: “You can’t win anything with kids.”

Those kids have long since grown up, had illustrious careers and retired, underscoring just how long the home fans have waited.

Sunday’s 3-1 win it was a long time coming for Villa, but Emery has made a big impact in a short time.

“The good times could be back for Aston Villa,” said former Premier League striker Clinton Morrison, watching the game on BBC Radio 5 Live.

“You always get the rebound, but this is different.”

Emery called it a “special day”.

Erik ten Hag and Unai Emery
Emery was a constant, animated presence on the touchline in his first Aston Villa game

There was definitely something different in the air in the build-up to this match.

Despite the poor weather, there was a good atmosphere, even though Villa started the day just a goal difference away from the relegation zone.

Emery’s appointment was clearly welcomed by most of Villa’s fans, and he was greeted by loud applause when he went to the stands before kick-off.

There might have been a rebound from the new manager as Villa raced into a formidable two-goal lead, but after that there was 80 minutes to sail and they did brilliantly, with Emery adjusting his tactics to give the visitors no space to carve out. in the game

“Thanks to Emery and the players, they got on really well,” added Morrison. “Emery got it right tactically. It was great form for Aston Villa.”

Afterwards, the former Arsenal and Villarreal boss said: “I’m so happy. We have players with high energy, quick skills, and we wanted to be disciplined, and I think the players stuck together with our game plan. It was special. every day.”

It’s very early in Emery’s reign, but the win moved Villa three points clear of the relegation zone and the word for some of the fans leaving the ground was not to avoid relegation.

“We can get into Europe,” said one optimistic supporter, while another added: “Bring on Thursday” – when Villa make the trip north to play Manchester United again, this time in the League Cup.

‘Unacceptable’ Man United made ‘stupid’ decisions – Ten Hag

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo’s first game as Manchester United captain under Erik ten Hag was disappointing

Thursday’s cup tie gives United a quick chance to straighten things out, with a disappointed Erik ten Hag clearly expecting a lot more from his side.

There has been enough improvement under Ten Hag to suggest it was probably just a day, but even that was not acceptable to the Dutchman.

“They are human beings, not robots, and sometimes it is like that, but it is not acceptable,” he said. “We have to be ready for every game and not give away a game.”

One of the big talking points ahead of the game was the Ten Hag handing Cristiano Ronaldo the captaincy less than three weeks after the striker left Old Trafford and refused to come on as a late substitute against Tottenham.

After initially being dropped from the national team, the Portugal international has been slowly reintegrating, and finally took the arm on Sunday under Ten Hag.

It was difficult to judge Ronaldo’s performance with the entire team boiling over, and Ten Hag would not be led to assess how the 37-year-old superstar performed in significant detail.

Instead, he criticized Ronaldo’s constant attempts to find him with crosses, something he said was not part of the game plan.

“I think it was stupid to do that,” Ten Hag said. “We put some crosses in too far. We have to bring the crosses at the right time.”

He added: “Collectively it was a poor performance.”

Manchester United have been putting in some good performances of late, and the Ten Hag will be hoping to return to that form when they quickly renew ties with Aston Villa on Thursday.