EPL

Unai Emery concerned over Ollie Watkins’ hamstring injury

By Sports Desk March 30, 2024

Aston Villa face a nervous wait to find out the extent of Ollie Watkins’ hamstring injury.

Boss Unai Emery confirmed the England international was taken off at half-time of the 2-0 win over Wolves with the problem and will undergo tests on Sunday.

He is now a major doubt for the midweek trip to Manchester City and Villa will be desperately hoping the injury is not a serious one as they enter a crucial run-in where they are aiming for Champions League qualification and Europa Conference League glory.

Their top-four hopes were boosted by victory over their midlands rivals, with goals from Moussa Diaby and Ezri Konsa in either half earning a vital three points.

Emery said: “He was feeling something, hamstring, more or less, and he was telling us he could carry on playing but the doctor told us it was better not to play with risk and we decided to stop him.

“Tomorrow we will check him and maybe its his hamstring, we hope not a lot, but we will see.”

On the game, Emery said it was important to get back to winning ways at home after recent losses to Newcastle, Manchester United and Tottenham.

“Very important, those three points here in Villa Park have been difficult, so many times we have played here against Newcastle, Manchester United and Tottenham, all different matches, but we didn’t achieve in those matches,” the Spaniard added.

“But we are being consistent and we are recovering our confidence and our way.

“Today, I think the important was victory. We were serious.”

Wolves were left to rue a big miss by Rayan Ait-Nouri with the score at 0-0 as the Algeria international failed to convert when he had time and space at the far post.

Boss Gary O’Neil said: “It’s a goal. I mean, 99 times out of 100 in a Premier League game that ends in a goal.

“He has got a big area of the goal to hit and he is not very far out so you’d back him to score.

“Sometimes it doesn’t go your way and the goalie makes a good save. Rayan played two 90 minutes for Algeria in the week and I thought he maybe didn’t look as sharp as he has done and a bit tired.

“The only thing I was disappointed with to be honest was the result. Performance-wise there were loads and loads of positives.

“Obviously we didn’t come here to lose so it is really disappointing that we did. But that performance I can sign up for no problem, if that is what the lads are going to give and that’s what we are going to be, that will be enough to win us enough games and keep us moving in the right direction.”

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