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Aston Villa logo
Europa Conference League | Round of 16 | 2nd Leg
Mar 14, 2024 at 8pm UK
Villa Park
Ajax

Aston Villa
4 - 0
Ajax

Watkins (25'), Bailey (60'), Duran (75'), Diaby (81')
Rogers (11'), Watkins (19')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Mannsverk (14')
Mannsverk (66')

Unai Emery: 'Aston Villa must connect with fans for European success'

Emery: 'Villa must connect with fans for success'
© Reuters
Head coach Unai Emery feels that his Aston Villa side must play in a way that connects them with the supporters to have success in the Europa Conference League.

Head coach Unai Emery has called on his players to deliver a performance that Aston Villa's supporters will engage with when they face Ajax on Thursday night.

On Sunday afternoon, Villa suffered the disappointment of losing 4-0 at home to Tottenham Hotspur in a potentially-pivotal game in the Premier League.

Spurs are now just two points adrift of fourth-placed Villa at a time when the West Midlands outfit have failed to score in their last two fixtures.

The first blank came against Ajax in the first leg of their Europa Conference League last-16 tie, with both teams finishing what was a largely uneventful goalless draw with 10 men.

While Villa had been in good form prior to the recent double-header, Emery is aware that the level of their performances have dropped off since the turn of the year.

Ajax Amsterdam's Jordan Henderson in action with Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz on March 7, 2024© Reuters

Speaking at a press conference ahead of welcoming the Dutch giants to Villa Park, Emery has talked up the need for his players and the club's supporters to be united in trying to deliver a European trophy at the end of the campaign.

The Spaniard told reporters: "We have to try to transmit our style, our idea and our skills as well. It's a very good opportunity tomorrow to get a good feeling with our supporters.

"It's very, very, important. The supporters are excited and motivated, like me, and like the players, to be in Europe. We have to try to connect with them, transmitting their energy."

On Ajax, he added: "They have some experienced players and some young players. They compete against us very well. I expect a lot, with players we have analysed. We know how difficult it will be tomorrow, how difficult it is in Europe.

Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins in action with Ajax Amsterdam's Ahmetcan Kaplan on March 7, 2024© Reuters

"For Ajax it's a very important match as well. We are going to be humble in our preparation, with respect they have and then we are going to try to impose our plan, try to play better than the match there.

"We drew there, more or less good result, but not enough. Of course it was a good result for them as well."

As well as Ezri Konsa being unavailable through suspension, Emery has confirmed that Jacob Ramsey is not fit to return from the injury that he sustained against Luton Town at the beginning of the month.

Meanwhile, Ajax warmed up for this contest with a 2-2 draw at home to Fortuna Sittard in the Eredivisie on Sunday, leaving them six points adrift of fourth position in the standings.

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