Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole lavish praise on Aston Villa star Emi Buendia for ‘making the difference’ against Everton

Aston Villa star Emi Buendia

Former England players Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole have lauded Emi Buendia after he came off the bench and shone for Aston Villa in their victory over Everton.

A small amount of pressure was starting to build up on Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard following their 2-0 loss to Bournemouth last weekend. The club has spent heavily in the transfer market and fans want them to finish in the top 10 as a result.

Gerrard’s men responded by picking up a 2-1 home win over Everton on Saturday afternoon. Aston Villa went in front with 31 minutes on the clock when Danny Ings got away from Abdoulaye Doucoure in the box before firing into the bottom corner.

Villa looked comfortable in the first half, but Everton improved after the interval. They had chances through Demarai Gray and Salomon Rondon.

Gerrard made a change in the 60th minute by replacing Philippe Coutinho with Buendia. And the £33million signing did not disappoint.

He gave Villa more impetus going forward and handed them a crucial second goal in the 86th minute. New Everton man Amadou Onana lost the ball in midfield, allowing Buendia and Villa to pounce.

Buendia drew two Everton defenders towards him before playing in Ollie Watkins. The Argentine then ran into the box before finishing into an open net from Watkins’ return pass.

Everton came back with a goal of their own just a minute later, as Onana caused problems down the left and his pull-back was turned in for an own goal by Lucas Digne.

Emi Buendia helps Villa get up and running

The Toffees threatened a late equaliser by piling the pressure on Villa. But Frank Lampard’s side couldn’t get a second goal, helping Villa to pick up three points.

After the match, BT Sport pundits Ferdinand and Cole hailed Buendia for his goal and overall impact off the bench.

Ferdinand said: “From an attacking perspective it was fabulous, the way he manipulated the situation.

“Onana loses the ball and it gets turned over. What I love here is the unselfish run from Watkins and the patience from Buendia, who draws the defenders to him.

“It’s a great weight of pass and the space is there. It’s a fantastic finish from Buendia.”

Cole added: “When it’s two on two it’s all about the weight of pass. He could’ve easily overhit that and sent Watkins wide, but it’s a fantastic pass. He really made the difference today.”

Ferdinand continued: “What Gerrard will be delighted with today, other than the result, is the fact his substitutes had big impacts when they came on – Buendia especially.

“Huge money signing on the bench, he could sulk. But he’s remained engaged.”

When asked if Buendia deserves to start more, potentially at Coutinho’s expense, Ferdinand replied: “No one has a divine right to start. But what you do need is a reaction. Buendia and Mings did that.”