Shropshire Star

Chelsea v Aston Villa preview: No option but to change says Unai Emery

Unai Emery claims he has no option but to keep changing Villa’s starting XI as they navigate a hectic fixture list.

Legia Warsaw's Ernest Muci scores their side's second goal of the game during the UEFA Europa Conference League Group E match at the Stadion Wojska Polskiego, Warsaw. Picture date: Thursday September 21, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Villa. Photo credit should read: Rafal Oleksiewicz/PA Wire..RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder....

Villa’s campaign continues at Chelsea tomorrow, less than 72 hours after a 3-2 Europa Conference League defeat at Legia Warsaw which ranks among the most disappointing results of Emery’s 10-month reign.

The Spaniard’s decision to make five changes in Poland – including two in defence – has been the subject of criticism yet while Emery yesterday admitted to making a “small tactical mistake” he again defended the logic of giving fringe players game time.

He explained: “We need to build, to try to get performances with some players who joined us in the last moment, like Clement Lenglet, like some players who are not playing regularly.

“They will help us and they will have to play. We do not only need 11, 12, 15 players. We will need 20, 22, 25 players.”

Villa’s cause has not been helped by serious injuries to Tyrone Mings and Emi Buendia, though the return of Jacob Ramsey from a broken foot which caused the midfielder to miss the start of the season was one of the few positives in Warsaw.