Emery: I don’t blame Emi, we all make mistakes
UNAI eMeRY hinted Nicolo Zaniolo is struggling to find form for Aston Villa amid the illegal betting scandal that has seen two of his Italy team-mates banned from football. Zaniolo was questioned by investigators on October 27 regarding the situation, which has seen Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali and Juventus youngster Nicolo Fagioli banned for 10 and seven months respectively.
The 24-year-old was taken off at half-time for the second straight game as Villa suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest. Zaniolo, who is on loan at
Villa from Galatasaray, says he has never bet on football and speaking earlier this month, his lawyer Gianluca Tognozzi said: ‘It’s possible that he played card games like poker and blackjack on illegal platforms, without ever knowing what they were.’ Under these circumstances Zaniolo would likely receive a fine rather than a ban. emery said: ‘In terms of the individual circumstances and his mind, he has to try to be 100 per cent free to try to play and we are trying to do it (help him).
‘he is not playing in his best position but he is helping us and I want to increase his level with us. We want to give him minutes to understand his team-mates, feel good with them and progressively try to forget the problems he had.’ This was only Villa’s third defeat in the league this term but it put the brakes on their march up the table. had they won here, they would have been two points off top spot.
Ola Aina gave Forest an early lead and when emiliano Martinez failed to keep out Orel Mangala’s 25-yard effort soon after the break, Villa had too much to do. It was a rare error from Martinez and emery refused to criticise his goalkeeper.
‘We are human and we can all make mistakes,’ said emery (left).
‘Not only the goalkeeper. I will never punish mistakes, not just for emiliano but for everyone. I want players to practise, be confident and try to do everything well.’
This was Forest’s first win since September 2 and boss Steve Cooper insisted his side were always in control, even though Villa wasted several promising moments in the second half.
‘It was a very intellectual performance from the boys,’ Cooper said. ‘And they deserve real gratitude for committing to the plan we put in place.
‘We scored goals from the situations where we had thought we would create chances, and we never really looked as though we were going to concede.’