Unai Emery: Aston Villa tiredness not a factor
Unai Emery denied Villa’s players were feeling the pace of their hectic schedule after crashing out of the Carabao Cup to Everton.
Goals from James Garner and Dominic Calvert-Lewin earned the Toffees a 2-1 third round victory, with Boubacar Kamara grabbing a late consolation for the hosts.
It was Villa’s second poor cup showing in the space of a week having stumbled out of the blocks in the Europa Conference League at Legia Warsaw.
Just as in Poland, Emery opted to make five changes and again they failed to work, with Leander Dendoncker struggling on his first start of the season and John McGinn stationed in the unusual position of left-back.
But Emery, whose team are in the middle of a run of seven matches in 22 days, rejected the idea the busy fixture list was behind the below par performance.
“I don’t think it’s being tired,” he said. “I don’t want to use all our effort with the players each match, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday.
“That’s the reason why we wanted to keep a balance with other players. Trying to be competitive and win the match. That is the reason I made some changes and I tried to manage 90 minutes trying to reduce the effort with some players.”
Garner pounced on slipshod defending to put Everton ahead, before Calvert-Lewin capitalised on a Youri Tielemans error early in the second half.
Asked if he was disappointed at the failure of some players to take their opportunity of a start, Emery replied: “Not disappointed, but I am demanding myself and have to be demanding with the players, they know it.
“For example, this is the first match Leander Dendoncker played, he was out of the pre-season and it’s not easy to recover and play in the idea we want to create.
“It’s necessary to give him chances and minutes to take it. He will need more. Then, Jhon Duran is young and must take experiences, he is playing and scoring goals.
“I think he is doing the process like I planned for him. Another substitution was John McGinn, it was a plan to play 45 minutes with McGinn and Lucas Digne. I tried to reduce minutes with other players, but in the end they played 90 minutes as we tried to come back and get the result.”