Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has heaped praise on Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins after he ‘destroyed’ Newcastle United’s defence on Saturday.
Jacob Ramsey and Ollie Watkins (2) scored to give Villa a 3-0 win and increase their hopes of playing in Europe next season. Villa, who were in the relegation zone when Unai Emery came over in October, have now been converted into European challengers.
Villa are sixth in the Premier League table after beating Newcastle for the fifth time in a row. Former Manchester United captain Neville can’t believe how things have changed.
Speaking on The Gary Neville Podcast, he said: “Watching that game, thinking about how Newcastle have been playing, I was stunned by Aston Villa. That was the best performance I have seen from an Aston Villa team for a long time.”
“From my point of view I look at it and think where has that come from? Unai Emery is a God in Valencia, and he’s a God in Spain in terms of how he’s thought of. He’s absolutely loved at Valencia for what he did there.”
Unai Emery was up against the club he turned down in 2021, and he came out on top against them.
Villa are now unexpectedly in contention for a place in the Champions League, having dropped just two points in their last eight games.
Gary Neville praise for Ollie Watkins
On Saturday, the Aston Villa forward scored his tenth and eleventh goals in his past 12 outings as his team defeated Newcastle 3-0 in front of national coach Gareth Southgate.
Watkins scored twice against Newcastle, but he should have had more as Villa custodian Nick Pope made several saves.
Watkins completely terrorised Newcastle with an offside goal and hitting the post in the first minute.
The former Manchester United goalkeeper has recently lauded Watkins, revealing on the Gary Neville Podcast that Watkins has ‘really surprised’ him.
“The performance was electric and Ollie Watkins, I obviously know he’s a good player, but it really has surprised me the level he’s got to. Newcastle are the meanest defence in the league and I thought he absolutely killed them. I thought he destroyed them.”
Next up for Villa is atrip to Gtech Community Stadium as they get ready to face Brentford on Saturday.