Football, Premier League

Aston Villa vs Man United: United enter top 4 race with late McTominay winner

The race for Champions League football was blown wide open when Aston Villa lost 2-1 to Manchester United, who won their first away league game against a top-nine team under Erik ten Hag thanks to a late goal from Scott McTominay.

At Villa Park, the in-form United got off to a quick start and earned a goal from Rasmus Hojlund, his fifth in five Premier League appearances.

Villa had the better of the huge chances, but Andre Onana was in outstanding form for United, save four excellent shots, two of which came from Ollie Watkins.

With more than 20 minutes remaining, Douglas Luiz scored from Leon Bailey’s cross, capping the pressure, but United emerged victorious.

With four minutes remaining in normal time, United’s substitute McTominay headed in Diogo Dalot’s first-time cross from close range to secure a crucial three points that pulls them within five points of fifth-place Villa.

“It’s a massive win for us,” said Ten hag after the game. “We get closer and that’s the aim for today, that was absolutely our target and we did it. The way we did it, I liked it.

“I never think negative scenarios. I think positive. We know we have to catch up and we are not there yet. We are in a good mood and keep this process going.

“There is much room for improvement, if we do this and there are more games to play, let’s see where it goes.”

“I liked especially the first 20 minutes, after that we were dropping too much. We had our moments in the counter attacks, but at 1-1 we had to fight back.

“It was really high intense, and you could see how many players were fatigued by the end. It was so open and it could have gone two ways. They had the mentality to win this day, especially the substitutes.

“Scott, he’s great. He can score many goals, he’s always coming in positions to score goals. We had some problems, it was too much like a tennis match. Every game we went for goal instead of waiting for the right decisions. With McTominay, he can get in the box and could score goals.

“Our defensive organistaion in the first part was very good, on the ball we were calm. Once we were winning, we changed our mindset. You can do this when the game is going to an end to play out the result. In the first 20 minutes we scored, why not keep going?”

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery said: “We did a good plan. We controlled the game, we avoided the transitions. We didn’t concede a lot of chances to them and we got control of the game, not only controlling possession, we were even having chances. And we didn’t score some clear chances.

“I am very proud of our work and our players. We are being more consistent in the league matches. But it is a tough evening for us and tough to accept. But that’s football, we have to score more.

“We had the chances and sometimes we are being clinical, sometimes we have days like today. Against Manchester United you can lose, because they’re clinical, but this is the way.

“I’m very proud of our work today, the players are proud. At the end we didn’t win because we weren’t clinical.”

Aston Villa face Fulham next on Saturday while Man United travel to Luton on Sunday


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