‘Spot on’ - Unai Emery hailed as tactical masterclass helps Aston Villa dismantle Tottenham

Aston Villa kicked off 2023 in fine style with a superb win at Tottenham after goals from Emiliano Buendia and Douglas Luiz.
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Aston Villa boss Unai Emery was hailed as the key man in his side’s victory over Tottenham as the visitors stifled the threat of Spurs’ usually potent attack.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were virtual by-standers in the match as Villa set themselves up to be difficult to break down and after holding Tottenham at the break, Emery’s side struck early in the second half when Buendia took advantage of a fumble from the returning Hugo Lloris.

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Luiz doubled the lead when Kane had his pocket picked in the middle of the park and John McGinn fed the Brazillian who finished superbly.

It was no more than Villa deserved for their performance, bouncing back from a Boxing Day defeat to Liverpool in which they were unfortunate not to have snatched a point, and one of their former strikers hailed the manager for his part in the victory over Tottenham.

Darren Bent said Emery got his tactics ‘spot on’ and Villa were well worth the win.

“Absolutely superb,” said Bent. “Tactically I spoke about rhythm before the game - he got it spot on. Every single one of them individuals knew exactly what their job was. They defended really, really solidly, didn't give Spurs too many opportunities on goal but when they got their opportunities in that final third they took them. 

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“Two really good goals, I know it was poor goalkeeping for the first one from Lloris but when you look at them from start to finish, Aston Villa, they thoroughly deserved this win. There wasn't a period in the game where you could say Spurs were the better side or would go on and win it. Aston Villa were the better side, defended when they needed to and rightly leave the Tottenham Stadium with the three points."

Emery in turn praised his players for the way in which they took on his instructions.

“We have to build a team thinking that we can control the game,” he told Sky Sports. “Defensively we were strong and together. We can be brilliant and then keep possession when we have chances to try to win the match. To try to improve different things tactically, I will do it.”

Villa now turn their attention to a home clash with West Midlands rivals Wolverhampton on Wednesday night.

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