Our manager discussed a range of subjects, including the our form, Emi Martinez, Joe Willock and more.


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Read on for a full transcript:

on the team news…
No, the players are not in yet, we will assess them today but we didn’t have any major problems so I am expecting the ones who are fit at the moment to continue to be available at the weekend.

on the competition for places driving performance…
Absolutely, I think medium and long-term it is something we will benefit from. First of all because the choices are open, the players have to raise their level – what they did last season doesn’t count, it is what they are doing now, how they are performing, how they are contributing to the team. I am really pleased that the players who haven’t had many minutes are still fit and willing to perform like they did last night.

on going into the international break with a win…
Yes, it would be great. Obviously before the international break if you are able to win, the mood in the camp and everybody is much better. You will reflect as well on your position in the table because there are other important games coming up. We know the game we are facing against [Villa], we have lost the last two times against them so it will be difficult, they are a team that has grown so much in recent months and they made some clever business in the market and they are stronger than last year.

on Villa’s form…
It is a really competitive side, they have played some very different matches with different approaches to certain matches, having some big results against big teams and after two defeats they need a win as well and they will show that right from the start I think.

on Jack Grealish…
He is a top player, great talent, he is player who can make a difference at any moment in the game. He has this personality against any opponent, at any ground, to take the ball in any area of the pitch and he can make the difference, so we have to look after him.

on where Aston Villa have improved from last season…
I think they have a better understanding with the players. They’ve worked with the manager for longer. I think they recruited really well. They got Emi, they got a striker, they got Ross and Douglas Luiz who is a player who is starting to show us he is capable. He is a player that I know really well from my time and City and I think the time is benefiting them together. You can see what they are trying to do and they look really strong.

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