Skip to main content

Nuno Espirito Santo refuses to blame Romain Saiss after big miss at Aston Villa

Aston Villa v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Premier League – Villa Park
(Image credit: Peter Cziborra)

Boss Nuno Espirito Santo refused to blame Romain Saiss after his horror miss cost Wolves victory at Aston Villa.

The defender lifted the ball over an open goal from point-blank range after Conor Coady’s header came back off the post as Wolves drew 0-0 at Villa Park.

Ollie Watkins and Ezri Konsa also hit the woodwork for the hosts during a bright first half but Wolves recovered after the break and should have won.

See more

Nuno said: “It’s clear he should have done better but the mistake, in our view, is something we are always supportive of. There is no problem at all. Saiss must be proud because he fought really well for the team.

“It was Coady first, the header of Coady, I know him very well and he could have done better but credit to him because it’s something we are pushing him to go into the box. He has been able to find good positions.

“We had good chances and we improved a lot in the second half. The first half was not so good.

“Everything changed in the second half. It (a poor first half) is something we have to try to improve on. I wish I knew why.

Conor Coady's header comes back off the post

Conor Coady’s header came back off the post (Catherine Ivill/PA)

“We have to reflect and think like we always do, trying to find the why and then the how to stop it.”

Watkins’ 25-yard drive shuddered the crossbar after four minutes and, 11 minutes later, Konsa also smacked the woodwork from Bertrand Traore’s cross.

Villa, ninth in the Premier League, dominated the first half but failed to test Rui Patricio which allowed Wolves to regained their composure after the break.

Pedro Neto tested Emi Martinez before Saiss should have scored after 57 minutes instead of somehow lifting his effort over after Coady’s header bounced off the post.

Coady was also denied by Martinez with 16 minutes left when he turned his shot wide from close range after Ross Barkley’s error in the box and Wolves stay 12th.

See more

Villa have now scored just five goals in eight matches and – without the injured Jack Grealish again – struggled to create serious openings.

Watkins finally forced Patricio into his first save in stoppage-time and Konsa lashed the rebound wide as Villa’s stuttering European hopes suffered another blow.

“When I have seen it back it’s one which comes back at him and he (Saiss) inexplicably puts it over. I was certainly a relieved man after that,” said Villa boss Dean Smith.

See more

“It was a game of two halves. We were very good in the first half and they were very good in the second half. I was trying to work out if we dropped off it or they upped it and it was a bit of both.

“There were big chances at both ends and I would have celebrated if Ezri had scored at the end but it would have been unjust.

“We’re creating big chances so goals are never a concern. They will certainly start going in, some of our play was our best since December. I’ve got no concerns, goals will certainly come.”