Unai Emery gives verdict on Aston Villa's 'deserved' FA Cup win vs Middlesbrough as season targets set out

Aston Villa booked their place in the FA Cup fourth round thanks to Matty Cash's late winner at the Riverside Stadium.

Unai Emery praised his squad's mentality after Aston Villa earned a 'deserved' 1-0 FA Cup third round win over Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Matty Cash scored the only goal and eventual winner on 87 minutes, albeit with a stroke of luck. The right-back's long-range effort deflected off Emmanuel Latte Lath, curling cruelly past Tom Glover and into the bottom corner.

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Villa were made to fight for their place in the fourth round draw, with Championship outfit Middlesbrough providing a stern test of their resilience. But Emery's side continued to chip away and were good value for their win.

"We were remembering before the match the past few years we have not qualified past the third round," Emery told BBC Sport. "But today we played seriously for 90 minutes with a game plan and we controlled the game a lot.

"We created not very clear chances, but in the second half we created very good chances and they had some good attacks. We were keeping in our mind the game plan and our passions. At the end we won and more or less I think we deserved it.

"The mentality you have to be there everyday and you have to get experiences and see what we are facing. We were keeping in our mind the game plan and until the last minute we were trying to be very positive in our area and at the end we won. It was fantastic."

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Victory over Boro keeps Villa on the hunt for three trophies and Emery looks set to lead an incredible season in the Midlands. They are second in the Premier League and into the last-16 of the Europa Conference League - where they face Zrinjski Mostar.

Progression into the latter stages inevitably leads to a fixture pile up and Emery will have to be mindful of the amount of games played as the season comes to a close. The Spaniard admits that keeping hold of a top-four place is the priority but insists he and his players are just trying to win each game as it comes.

"Which competition is the most important? We have to go into each match and get the best result," he said. "The first target is to be consistent through the Premier League and then to try be consistent in the Conference League and the FA Cup.

"But of course we have to be consistent and we have to face each competition and improve."

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