Unai Emery has confirmed a fresh injury concern following Aston Villa’s 5-0 win over Hibernian in the UEFA Europa Conference League play-off first leg on Wednesday evening.
The men in claret and blue dominated from start to finish to earn a huge aggregate lead heading into the second leg at Villa Park next Thursday but still managed to pick up a new fitness worry.
On an evening when the Villans hardly left first gear, there was a reminder that injury problems can crop up at any moment, even when there’s a hefty lead in a fixture.
Emiliano Martinez, who was substituted at the break, is the man in question. It seemed as if he was coming off to hand Robin Olsen some minutes but it was actually forced, Emery has revealed.
“He told us in the first half he had a small pain and we didn’t want to take any risks with him. We decided to play with Olsen in the second half,” Emery said in the post-match press conference.
Based on the head coach’s body language as he described Martinez’s issue, it would appear it wasn’t a serious one and merely a precautionary measure to take him off.
That can’t be taken as gospel as there simply wasn’t any confirmation of exactly what it was the goalkeeper suffered with, but Emery didn’t look overly concerned.
Villa are back in action on Sunday afternoon as they take on Burnley away from home. They then face Hibs in the second leg of the play-off stage four days later.