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Aston Villa logo
Europa Conference League | Quarter-Finals | 1st Leg
Apr 11, 2024 at 8pm UK
Villa Park
Lille

Aston Villa
2 - 1
Lille

Watkins (13'), McGinn (56')
Luiz (49'), Tielemans (77'), Martinez (90+4')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Diakite (84')
Fonseca (45+1')

Unai Emery calls for Aston Villa to "respect" Lille test in Europa Conference League

Emery calls for Villa to
© Reuters
Head coach Unai Emery calls for his Aston Villa side to "respect" the challenge that Lille will pose them in the Europa Conference League quarter-finals.

Aston Villa head coach Unai Emery has acknowledged that he is expecting an evenly-contested tie with Lille in the Europa Conference League quarter-finals.

The Premier League outfit have spent the entirety of the 2023-24 competition as the favourites to lift the trophy at the end of the season.

However, Villa had to overcome a losing start in the group stage against Legia Warsaw to top Group E, before being drawn against Ajax in the last 16.

Villa came through that challenge, responding to a goalless draw in Amsterdam with a 4-0 victory in the West Midlands, but their reward for defeating the Dutch giants was a last-eight showdown with Lille.

Of all the teams remaining in the tournament, there is an argument that Lille are on a par with Villa, sitting in fourth position in Ligue 1 with just 25 goals conceded in 28 games.

Furthermore, Paulo Fonseca's side have not lost any of their 10 Europa Conference League fixtures this season, winning six and drawing four.

Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring for Aston Villa against Ajax on March 14, 2024.© Reuters

What has Emery had to say?

Speaking to reporters at a press conference on Wednesday, Emery called on his players to respect the competition, as well as refusing to entertain any questions about the Premier League tussle with Arsenal that takes place three days later.

The Spaniard said: "Firstly, you must always respect the competition. It's good for us to have this experience in the competition, sometimes we had difficult moments.

"Losing against Legia and then winning against Zrinjski in the last minute. We had some good games against Ajax. We drew there and then played with personality here.

"Lille are the same [as us]. They have experiences in Europe. I know the president [of Lille] and he is very competitive, he's an experienced man.

"They are focused on this competition and this path to the final. They don't play in the French league between their two matches against us. They are fourth in the league and have a great coach."

On the Arsenal fixture at the Emirates Stadium, he added: "We are speaking about the game tomorrow and thinking about that match, not the one to come after. That wouldn't be good for everybody."

Aston Villa's Clement Lenglet looks dejected after Manchester City scores their third goal on April 3, 2024© Reuters

Villa's selection issues

Emery also confirmed that as many as seven senior players will be absent from the first leg at Villa Park.

Five of those were already known, with Tyrone Mings, Boubacar Kamara, Jacob Ramsey and Emiliano Buendia all in line to miss the rest of the season.

Calum Chambers was not included in the squad list, while Matty Cash and Clement Lenglet are yet to put themselves back in contention after recent injuries.

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Lille
8.9%
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Aston Villa manager Unai Emery looks dejected after Manchester City scores their third goal on April 3, 2024
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Group A

TeamPWDLPTS
QLille642014
QSlovan Bratislava631210
3Ljubljana62046
4KI61144

Group B

TeamPWDLPTS
QM. Tel Aviv650115
QGent641113
3Luhansk62137
4Breidablik60060

Group C

TeamPWDLPTS
QPlzen660018
QDinamo Zagreb63039
3Astana61144
4KF Ballkani61144

Group D

TeamPWDLPTS
QBrugge651016
QBodo/Glimt631210
3Besiktas61144
4Lugano61144

Group E

TeamPWDLPTS
QAston Villa641113
QLegia640212
3AZ62046
4Zrinjski Mostar61144

Group F

TeamPWDLPTS
QFiorentina633012
QFerencvaros624010
3Genk62319
4Cukaricki60060

Group G

TeamPWDLPTS
QPAOK651016
QFrankfurt63039
3Aberdeen61326
4HJK Helsinki60242

Group H

TeamPWDLPTS
QFenerbahce640212
QLudogorets640212
3Nordsjaelland631210
4Spartak Trnava60151


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