'Defensive errors have ultimately held back Villa's full potential'

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It has been a frustrating past week for Aston Villa as they aimed to finish off their season in style.

The decision to rest Pau Torres, despite the suspension of Emi Martinez, in the first leg of their Europa League Conference semi-final, contributed to Olympiakos being able to dismantle Villa and effectively seal the tie at Villa Park.

The preparations for the second leg did not go well either.

With Tottenham recently losing four straight games, Villa could have already potentially locked in Champions League football for next season if they had not let recent home matches slip away.

After winning their first nine home games of the season, they have only won three of the nine that followed.

Unable to rest players in the Brighton game, which was sandwiched between the two legs against Olympiakos, they lost Morgan Rodgers to injury, further depleting the squad.

Nevertheless, in Greece, Villa still fielded a formidable first XI, only two players shy of the team that had beaten both Manchester City and Arsenal within a week. Although Boubacar Kamara and Youri Tielemans were absent, their places were filled by Villa’s record signing Moussa Diaby and Matty Cash.

The duo allowed Villa to switch to three centre-backs, aiming to be solid defensively and hopefully clinically pick their moments in attack.

While Villa have had a very strong season, defensive errors have ultimately held back their full potential.

A perfect example came in Athens when, after just 10 minutes, sloppy defensive marking shattered their comeback plan and final dreams.

If Unai Emery can address these defensive shortcomings in pre-season, then there is room for this Villa team to further improve next term.

David Michael can be found at My Old Man Said

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