Unai Emery has explained the non-negotiable treatment his Aston Villa players receive when they make mistakes after Emiliano Martinez’s blunder in the 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest on Sunday. Martinez, just days on from winning the prestigious Yashin trophy at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris, gifted Forest their second goal as he flapped at Orel Mangala’s long-range effort and watched as the ball dropped back down into his own net.
Although not the winning moment as Forest already had a 1-0 lead, Martinez’s mishap certainly heightened the mountain Villa had to climb. The men in claret and blue dominated possession throughout much of the second half but were unable to convert the opportunities they crafted. Opposition goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos, meanwhile, made some terrific saves to keep a clean sheet on debut for his new club.
“We are human and we can make mistakes. I am never punishing the mistakes of the players because I want to try to get confidence in everybody, practicing, trying to do everything well,” Emery said post-match in response to Martinez’s costly fault. “Of course, when we are facing other teams we have to get better than them, but we are never punishing the mistakes. Not only for Emiliano, that is for everybody,” Emery clarified.
Established as one of the best man-managers in the business, Villa’s head coach has taken a rather characteristic approach by ignoring Martinez’s blunder at The City Ground. It’s not the first error the Argentina international has made this season, either, as he put the ball in his own net in the 3-1 win over Luton Town only last weekend. Martinez, who often speaks of his desperate desire to win trophies with Villa, will be keen to bounce back against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday evening.