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Villa captain John McGinn can bounce back from red card

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Villa captain John McGinn can bounce back from red card

That’s according to boss, Unai Emery

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery is backing John McGinn to come good in Thursday’s Europa Conference League clash with Ajax.

McGinn is available for the last-16 second-leg tie at Villa Park, which is finely poised at 0-0, despite his red card in Sunday’s damaging Premier League loss to Tottenham.

The Scot was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Destiny Udogie and Villa went on to be hammered 4-0.

The Villa captain is set to start against the Dutch giants on Thursday as they look to book a first European quarter-final since 1998.

“Tomorrow we can play with John McGinn, which is fantastic to use him and his quality and his power and his moment as a player and his spirit,” Emery said.

Ezri Konsa, who was sent off in Amsterdam in last week’s first leg, and Nicola Zaniolo, who has accumulated two bookings, are suspended.

Villa were lucky to leave the Dutch capital with a draw last week as they were outplayed by Ajax, who are struggling in the Eredivisie.

Emery said his side did not show they were favourites for the tie.

“To be favourites in Europe cannot help you, the only way we can show we are favourites is by playing and we didn’t show that,” the Spaniard conceded.

“They showed us that they want to get something in this competition and they want to beat us. Playing the first leg, we got very good information off them.

“Europe is prestige, a UEFA competition, it is another objective in our season, it’s very important for the players and the club.

“I don’t want to finish my way in Europe with Aston Villa this year just yet.”

Jordan Henderson will mark his return to English soil with Ajax, having joined in the January transfer window.

And Emery knows what the 33-year-old midfielder, who left Liverpool in the summer for a highly controversial move to Saudi Arabia, can offer.

“They added a very experienced player, a top English player. He knows how we can play tomorrow, he played fantastic there and tomorrow we have to be ready to stop their gameplan,” the Villa boss added.

The 4-0 loss to Spurs was damaging in their bid to qualify for the Champions League for the first ever time.

Defender Matt Cash says the Ajax game presents the perfect opportunity to bounce back.

“It is a big motivation for us personally, we want to put things right,” he said.

“The first game at Ajax was a tough game and on the back of a tough defeat at the weekend as well, tomorrow is the perfect game to bounce back. It is good to have a lot of games thick and fast so we can bounce back.

“We are in a fantastic position, we have done well, credit to everyone at the club, to get ourselves in this position is fantastic.

“We are disappointed from the weekend, but we have had a got a lot of games and a massive game tomorrow which can be important for us.

“We are in a fantastic position so we can’t get too low.”

Ajax will be without former Tottenham forward Steven Bergwijn.

The Netherlands international picked up a back injury in training on Saturday, having recovered from a knee problem.

“It’s disappointing for Steven, he would’ve liked being available already last weekend,” boss John van ‘t Schip said at his press conference.

“He had a knee injury before, but then in the final training session (on Saturday), he started experiencing back pain.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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