‘We know we’re one of the biggest teams in the competition’

John McGinn

John McGinn says Aston Villa are embracing being one of the biggest teams competing in the Europa Conference League, but there is no room for complacency for Unai Emery’s side.

Villa are second in Group E at the halfway stage and McGinn said he knew how tough it was going to be.

“The difficulty hasn’t been a surprise to me as I know how hard it is to get in these competitions,” said the Villa captain.

“I think the perception from the outside is that ‘it’s just the Conference League and Aston Villa will turn up with the players we have and win’. It’s not been like that at all.

“In Alkmaar the scoreline suggests it was a comfortable game but even at 4-1, there were spells that were not comfortable. We are coming up against good teams and we are pretty inexperienced at this level. We are gradually improving but all three teams in the group have given us huge test so far. Hopefully, we can push on and qualify.

“We are embracing it and we know we’re one of the biggest teams in the competition, but that doesn’t mean we turn up against teams and we’re off it.

“[Against Legia Warsaw] we got punished. As much as we didn’t want to lose, it was a huge learning curve and has given us a platform to respect each and every team we face.”

On what the secret ingredient behind Villa’s impressive home run has been, he added: “Probably the belief from everyone. It’s a great time to play at Villa Park.

“It is the first time in a long time that supporters have got full trust and belief in us as players. The support is there and it’s a great place to play football.

“We’ve turned it into a fortress but it can quite easily change. Football changes so quickly so we can’t be naive to think we just turn up there and win now. We need to keep it going.

“It’s a really impressive run and one we’re proud of and hoping to extend.”



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