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McGinn admits Aston Villa lost to ‘the better team’ and vows to learn from mistakes

Aston Villa crashed out of Europa Conference League in the semi-finals but John McGinn says his team will learn from the experience.

John McGinn

Aston Villa captain John McGinn admits the better team won after the Premier League side were knocked out of the Europa Conference League semi-finals by Olympiacos.

The Villans trailed 4-2 on aggregate heading into the return leg in Greece and they never really threatened their opponents during the match.

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Despite dominating the ball, Olympiacos’ tactic of sitting deep and playing on the counter-attack worked to perfection and they added two more goals to stretch the overall lead to 6-2.

It was a brace from Ayoub El Kaabi who scored a hat-trick at Villa Park last week and his finishing was the big difference in the tie.

Speaking to TNT Sports after the game, McGinn said: “We went into this competition of favourites and we handle that throughout the competition.

“I think it has been a big learning curve for us.

“It’s not been a smooth journey, we got to the semi-final and were down to the bare bones a wee bit.

“However those of us that were out there across the two legs lost to the better team and the scoreline shows that.

“For us going into more European competition next season we need to learn how to manage moments a lot better.

“Of course we wanted to do better this year and get to a European final but we will do everything we can to get ourselves back into this position and get to a final.”

Emery’s assessment

Head coach Unai Emery says his players were not clinical enough and echoed the words of his captain, admitting this is a huge learning experience for Villa.

He is already turning his attention to qualifying for the Champions League but stopped to give Olympiacos credit as well.

The 52-year-old added: “They [Olympiasos] deserve to be in the final.

“We lost it in the first 90 minutes at home and we were not competitive. We started this first half well, they scored but we controlled the game but we were not clinical.

“This is an experience for us at Aston Villa after a long time [of not being in Europe] and again we are going to compete in Europe next year.

“Of course we are a little bit disappointed, a little bit frustrated but we have to move on quick. We started the first leg and maybe we were favourites but after the first leg we weren’t.

“We have to try to finish the season and for it to be very amazing [if they qualify for the Champions League].”

Picture of Mitch Fretton

Mitch Fretton

Mitch is a freelance sports journalist with experience working for LiveScore, GOAL and Colchester United. He has experience working from both his desk at home and in the press box at games covering the Champions League and international football.

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