Aston Villa are being tipped to ‘fly’ after the World Cup break as Unai Emery fully asserts his playing style and tactics on the first-team squad.
Emery took over from Steven Gerrard at Villa Park in late October and has won his opening two Premier League matches in charge of the club, against Manchester United and Brighton.
There has already been a clear change in approach from the players. And tactical tweaks from Emery are already paying dividends.
The Spaniard now has just over five weeks to work with the remaining members of his first-team squad.
And former Hibernian striker Tam McManus is predicting a much-improved Villa for the second half of the campaign.
He told Football Insider: “If you think about Villa, they are two wins from two under Emery in the league.
“That’s against Man United and Brighton, that’s two very hard games and they have got six points. How long has Emery had with those players? A few days?
“Just think about how he will have them playing after he has pretty much had a pre-season with them. Most of their players aren’t going to the World Cup.
“I don’t think people realise how big this is for them. Emery is a fantastic manager and he now has six weeks, maybe five after the players have a week off, to work with this squad and get them playing a whole new way.”
Villa expected to be active in January window
Despite being please with what he has seen from his players so far, Emery is still expected to be backed in the January window.
Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres is known to be a major target, although Tottenham remain interested in the Spain international.
To that end, McManus added: “They [Villa] are only going to improve then they are going to go into the market in January.
“It’s a huge few weeks for the club. And if they get it right then they could fly in the second half of the season.”
Villa are not back in action until Boxing Day when they host Liverpool at Villa Park.