‘We want to achieve more’ – Villa enjoy night ‘to remember’

John McGinn and goalscorer Jhon Duran

Aston Villa captain John McGinn wants more memorable European nights after helping the club into the quarter-finals of the Europa Conference League.

Villa beat four-time European champions Ajax 4-0 at home to move into the last eight of a major European competition for the first time since 1998.

“We want to achieve more,” said McGinn. “We’ve given the fans one to remember but we don’t want to stop here.

“It’s up there [with his best nights] and we didn’t want the journey to end.”

Ollie Watkins headed Villa ahead and Leon Bailey made it 2-0 before visiting midfielder Sivert Mannsverk was sent off for two bookable offences. Jhon Duran and Moussa Diaby added further goals to seal the home side’s win.

Emery plays down fears over Watkins injury

Watkins, who has scored three times in nine England appearances, was named on Thursday in Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions squad for the friendly matches against Brazil on 23 March and Belgium three days later, with both games at Wembley.

Ollie Watkins injured on the floor

The striker is Villa’s top scorer with 22 goals in all competitions this season, but suffered an injury when he slid in to challenge Ajax goalkeeper Diant Ramaj and needed lengthy treatment and heavy strapping to his left leg with a cut as the cause.

However, Watkins still managed to rise superbly to meet Douglas Luiz’s right-wing corner to power in the header in the first of four goals.

He had to be helped off the pitch by Bailey in the 33rd minute, with the England man going straight down the tunnel to get medical treatment.

Emery said: “We don’t know exactly what the [issue] is. It’s a cut, maybe for Sunday he could be available, but we have to wait.”

However, Bailey sounded less optimistic when he said: “It looked really bad when I saw it, an open wound.”

Villa play West Ham at home in the Premier League on Sunday, before England’s two matches, which are vital preparation before the Euros start in three months.

For Villa, fourth in the Premier League, this result continues a remarkable turnaround since Emery replaced the sacked Steven Gerrard last season, when the club were only out of the relegation zone on goal difference.

“We’re happy, it was very important,” added the Spaniard. “We tried to connect with our supporters. After the [goalless] first leg we were analysing with the players and we needed to play better than we did there.”

‘We’ve been beaten quite easily’ – Henderson

Ajax captain Jordan Henderson, also in the England squad, told TNT Sports: “We’ve been beaten quite easily in the end which is disappointing.

“I felt we were in the game at the end of the first half. We conceded a second goal which was poor on our behalf and then it’s always tough at that point. To go down to 10 men it’s very difficult to come back against a good side. Injuries and everything started to go wrong.

“If we’d kept it at 1-0 for longer we could have hurt them but we were well beaten in the end. Villa are a good side.”

Ajax head coach John van’t Schip added: “In the first half we were still very much in the game and we nearly got an equaliser with [Brian] Brobbey.

“But you need decisions to be on your side and there were not many decisions on our side this evening and after the red card it was impossible for us. It’s very disappointing, I had high expectations.”

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