Aston Villa boss Unai Emery says he has been “pushing” Tuesday’s match-winner against Fulham Tyrone Mings to score more goals.
Mings headed home John McGinn’s corner in the 21st minute for his first goal for the club since November 2021 to clinch a 1-0 win at Villa Park.
Emery said of the defender: “Each time we were preparing set-pieces, I am pushing him, I was telling him, ‘You are a tall player and we have to use you, and you have to believe in yourself. You have to do it.’
“(Tuesday) was very good because we won 1-0, and it’s through him. It is important to add it.
“We must add players scoring goals, not only strikers, wingers, midfielders – as well, at set-pieces, our centre-backs and we are happy for him. We are adding the possibility to win in other ways.”
Mings’ partner at centre-back Ezri Konsa told VillaTV with a smile: “It was about time one of us scored.
“I’m very happy for him, the manager’s been getting on to me and Tyrone. On Monday he said if one of us doesn’t score he’s going to kill us! I guess Tyrone listened and he got the goal, I’m happy for him.”
Beating Fulham, their eighth win in a 10-game unbeaten streak, continued Villa’s push for Europe as they moved up to fifth place in the Premier League with five matches to go.
Since losing 3-0 at Fulham in October and sacking boss Steven Gerrard shortly after, with the team lying 17th in the table with two wins from 11 games, Villa’s season has undergone a remarkable transformation under his successor Emery.
They began with a 3-1 victory over Manchester United, their next opponents at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Emery’s 20 league games in charge – his side have scored at least once in every one – include 13 wins and only four losses.
Asked if he was surprised by the extent of the turnaround, Emery said: “I’m not surprised. I think we had to practise, we had to be demanding, and Tyrone Mings – he wants to improve. I think the players are being humble, to practise more, to get information, try to learn.
“I am telling them, ‘I am learning with you, I am watching the match and you are teaching me as well, and of course I have to support you, to help you as well, with my experiences’. I try to do it, but they have to be committed doing it, and they are doing it. And when we are winning, they can believe more.”
Fulham, who stayed ninth, managed only one shot on goal during the contest, Andreas Pereira’s acrobatic effort wide that came in the opening minute.
The Cottagers suffered the disruption of Willian having to withdraw from the starting XI after feeling a hamstring issue in the warm-up and Harry Wilson then being substituted in the 17th minute due to illness.
Boss Marco Silva said: “You are talking about the two best players the last two games we played, Willian against Everton away (a 3-1 win), and last game against Leeds (a 2-1 win) Harry was the best player on the pitch.
“Of course it’s not the best thing, but it will not be an excuse, because the players that came in, it was a moment for them to pop up and show their quality.”