Aston Villa head coach Unai Emery has encouraged his side to force their ideas when they host Premier League rivals Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Villans are 10th in the table after winning two and losing two of their opening four Premier League games of the 2023/24 campaign.
In their last outing came against Liverpool before the international break, they were beaten 3-0 by the Reds at Anfield. Emery now wants his side to tackle in-game situations by being “positive” and “competitive”.
He told the Villa website: “I want to score a lot of goals, I want to be strong defensively like we were last year. Tomorrow, the challenge is to try and score, try to close our goalkeeper, try to impose our idea.
“We are trying to overcome some situations we’ve had with some injured players, with some circumstances we’ve had.
“We have to be responsible, we have to be mature and we have to be very professional, taking each situation being positive and reacting very quick to be competitive and try to do our best.
“We won two matches, we lost two matches and we are now in the balance. We can be better, we can be worse; and tomorrow is the key in this moment.
“If we are winning tomorrow, we can be happy. We have to prepare and we have to play tomorrow thinking that it’s going to be very difficult because every match in the Premier League is very difficult.
“We have to prepare, we have to be ready, we have to be very demanding in 90 minutes, we have to use our starting 11 and the players in the bench.
“Even in this break, I was very aware about the difficulties of tomorrow and the important match we are going to face. That is the idea that I told the players this morning.”
The left-back has been sidelined since the end of May, but is edging closer to a return along with Jacob Ramsey and Bertrand Traore.
Palace are seventh in the table having lost only one of their opening four matches and Emery is expecting a difficult task against the south London outfit.
“I really respect him a lot, (Roy) Hodgson, and Crystal Palace. They are very competitive, a very organised team,” he added.
“I think the coach has not only experience but the capacity to show an organised team. They are a team that’s very difficult to win against because they are very competitive away and at home.”
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