Unai Emery makes strong Molineux admission as Wolves boss takes aim at Aston Villa star

The drama spilled from the field to the press as Aston Villa manager Unai Emery commented on Molineux while Wolves boss Gary O’Neil had words for John McGinn.
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Unai Emery believes his side were hindered by the effects of the Molineux crowd as Aston Villa were held to a 1-1 draw by local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.

It was a tense affair from start to finish – boosted too by both sets of supporters – as the fierce and physical hosts halted the visitors from playing their usual free-flowing football.

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Referee Rob Jones was one of the busiest men on the field as he had to pause play for countless fouls and there was very little momentum for either team as a result.

The stop-start nature of the encounter definitely played in Wolves’ favour and helped keep Molineux buoyant – something Emery was keen to point out to the media.

“It’s a derby and I think we felt it on the pitch. There are a lot of Aston Villa supporters with us. There was a great atmosphere,” the head coach said.

“On the pitch, maybe in 90 minutes we felt this derby and we felt sometimes the match was not going very clear. We tried to focus, playing our game plan and trying to win.

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“Of course, we were very focused trying to not let them score first because scoring here first they were feeling very good. It is difficult here [Molineux] to come back the result.

“We reacted very quickly and I think that was the key. In 90 minutes, we created more chances and go into the box more than them,” Emery continued.

Villa were unleashed in added time as Wolves went down to 10 men following a second booking for Mario Lemina. It shifted the momentum and the chances flooded in.

Nicolo Zaniolo and Ezri Konsa went near, while Ollie Watkins was agonisingly close to a last-gasp winner as he was denied by the woodwork.

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But Wolves manager Gary O’Neil reckons the away side were fortunate to still have all 11 players at the close of play, calling out Villa skipper John McGinn.

The Scotsman was a player particularly involved in duels both in and out of possession on the day and he picked up a booking, placing him on thin ice throughout.

O’Neil posed the question of whether McGinn was lucky to avoid getting sent off, taking aim perhaps due to the clashes he had with Wanderers defender Craig Dawson.

“John McGinn seemed to be close at times to receiving another yellow. But I understand the referee was trying to do his best.

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“It’s just a disappointment that we conceded against a side that didn’t want to come out and press,” O’Neil said, swiping at Wolves’ foes.

Both sides head into the international break with plenty to reflect on but as it was, the heated fixture concluded with a reluctant sharing of points.

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