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Benitez, Tuchel, Solskjaer – what rival bosses have said about Villa

It’s been a mixed bag of results for Aston Villa this season knowing they’ve won three, drew once and lost four from their opening eight matches.

But what do the Premier League managers really think after facing off against Dean Smith’s new-look team?

Here’s what the opposition bosses have said about Villa and their encounters so far this term, from Xisco Munoz on the opening day back in August to Bruno Lage last weekend.

XISCO MUNOZ, WATFORD

“Today it was our game, a narrow team, played the space behind us, because we know Aston Villa always try to play the space behind us and we always played a good transition.

“I think today the team understood what happened in the game today and it was a very good performance.”

Emmanuel Dennis of Watford celebrates scoring against Aston Villa

STEVE BRUCE, NEWCASTLE UNITED

“It’s not going for us, is it? We lost a game last week with a big talking point and today we feel aggrieved too.

“The same official is involved. Last week we were crying out for the referee to have a look at the monitor, he didn’t and today he did.

Benitez, Tuchel, Solskjaer - what rival bosses have said about Villa
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“I thought VAR was for clear and obvious. The penalty for us, there were no lines drawn last week but there were this week – why? We are still talking about VAR.

“We had a decent start and a big chance but there were small margins between the teams. They got the big, key decisions at the right times.”

THOMAS FRANK, BRENTFORD

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith interacts with Brentford counterpart Thomas Frank
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith interacts with Brentford counterpart Thomas Frank

“We started the game brilliant at a difficult place to play.

“We were brave, pressed high and scored and I felt we were really on top of the game. Then one miscommunication and it gave them the chance.

“In the second half I felt we started better and then it was more even in the last part of the game. I felt if there should have been a narrow winner it should have been us.”

THOMAS TUCHEL, CHELSEA

Benitez, Tuchel, Solskjaer - what rival bosses have said about Villa
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel after his side’s 3-0 defeat of Aston Villa

“They were a bit more aggressive than us in the first half. We lacked a bit of rhythm and composure. We had easy ball losses that cost us a bit of confidence in the first half.

“In the second half we forced them into early ball losses and had a high transition game at least. In the end we have a perfect result.

“We want to control more of course, but it was the moment to fight through and that is what we did.

“Everyone’s aware we can do better. There are some reasons why games can look like this. If you’re still able to win 3-0, it’s a good way to progress.”

RAFA BENITEZ, EVERTON

Everton manager Rafael Benitez
Everton manager Rafael Benitez

“In the second half we had a couple of chances, that could have meant everything was totally different.

“Then we conceded the goal and very soon conceded a second and it was difficult for us.

“Salomon, Demarai Gray and Alex Iwobi [had chances], so we had two or three situations where it could have been different.

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“We made mistakes and we made them too early, too close, then it was difficult to react and that is something for the future, hopefully, we can manage.

“Either not concede, or if we do concede, react like we did in our games at home. The two goals were too close and then it was more difficult.”

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER, MANCHESTER UNITED

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the touchline during his side's defeat to Aston Villa
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the touchline during his side’s defeat to Aston Villa

“It’s obviously disappointing, because [Aston Villa’s goal] is offside. We were unfortunate to have that decision go against us.

“First of all, what I didn’t like was the way they crowded the referee and the penalty spot and Bruno and tried to affect him. It clearly worked but that’s not great to see.

“Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. Bruno is such a good penalty taker and today you would have backed him with your mortgage I would guess, unfortunately he just missed this one. But he is strong mentally and he’ll step forward again.

“Bruno has been excellent and Cristiano is probably the one who has scored the most penalties in world football. We’ve got great takers and it’s a missed opportunity for us to get a point.”

NUNO ESPÍRITO SANTO, TOTTENHAM

“We needed a win but a well-deserved win. We did a good match against tough opponents. Important for us, the boys and the fans. We reacted well after conceding and [were] positive in a lot of ways.

“The boys did well. Villa are a very good team with the press so it was about taking risks. Our front three were always in the middle. They played well.”

BRUNO LAGE, WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS

Conor Coady shakes hands with Wolves boss Bruno Lage after the 3-2 win at Aston Villa
Conor Coady shakes hands with Wolves boss Bruno Lage after the 3-2 win at Aston Villa

“After they scored we had more ball possession, continued to play in their spaces and we changed the game with that.

“If you look at the way Aston Villa press, they press with two strikers who go and the three guys in the middle are very strong – they create like a triangle to press – and our players tried to have the ball, especially in defence.

“We tried that for 60 minutes and then we changed. I’m very happy with the players because they did what we asked and they changed the game.

“The best decision is not about the result, it’s about the thing we believe by watching what the opponent can do.”

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