Interview with Pau Torres exclusively: The defender for Aston Villa is optimistic about his future under Unai Emery.


Last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Fulham by Aston Villa was largely determined by a double from Ollie Watkins. However, Pau Torres’s comeback after missing two months due to an ankle ailment was just as significant.

When he is available, Unai Emery’s team is a different prospect, as seen by their record this season both with and without him. They have a 76% winning percentage in the Premier League when Torres begins. If he doesn’t, that percentage falls to 25%.

Diego Carlos had joined Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa on the injured list, thus his comeback was highly anticipated. Torres needs to come back in and finish the job for Emery. Naturally, he executed the task with his customary composure, demonstrating why his manager has complete faith in him.

At Villa’s training site, their relationship seemed like a decent spot to start a talk with Torres. It is the reason he is here, after all. Together, they defeated Villarreal to win the Europa League. While he was on his honeymoon in July, Emery called to talk about the benefits of getting back together.

We kept in touch. I had to urge him to let us enjoy our vacation, that a honeymoon is an event of a lifetime, and that we should put it off till I returned. For the days before I arrived, he respected that.”

According to Torres, the incident provides insight into the thinking of a manager who “lives football 24 hours a day”. His presence at Villa Park played a significant role in luring the centre-back, whose £45 million move was finalized as soon as his honeymoon concluded.

“He is a very demanding manager, first of all with himself,” he states. “He is the first to want us to achieve success, and all of the players pick up on his enthusiasm and self-demanding nature. His perspective on football has kind of infected us.

“He insists that you give football your whole attention and that it be the most important thing in your life. It is our responsibility as players to make the most of having a boss who is so demanding of us.

“I think we can achieve important things with him.”

Naturally, Torres has already accomplished that at Villarreal, where he was a key player in the 52-year-old’s historic European win. However, two years later, Torres decided it was time for a change.

“I felt like, at Villarreal, there wasn’t much more I could do,” he recalls. “With the club of my life, I had realized my dreams. It was time to come to the Premier League and take on a new challenge.

“I am happy with the step I have taken.”

Everyone connected to Aston Villa has the same sentiments. It has turned out that the signing felt like a coup at the time. but only following a disastrous debut against Newcastle, where Torres was substituted in for the hurt Mings in a 5-1 loss.

“That game brought us back to reality because we had had a good pre-season,” he says. “We were wounded by that outcome in the opening game. We needed to awaken and return more resilient. To guarantee that the following outcomes were favorable, I believe it was a turning point in our work.”

Villa, with Torres always starting, won five of their next six matches. In fact, he had not missed a single minute of Premier League action before to suffering an ankle injury against Brentford in December.

His influence has been revolutionary.

Now that he has joined their backline, a side that was already lethal in transition can also pass through opponents thanks to his exceptional ball-playing abilities.

The most recent reminder came from the methodical build-up that resulted in Watkins’ second goal against Fulham. In that play, Torres was spotted launching a signature diagonal pass into Youri Tielemans before dipping a shoulder and advancing the ball past Andreas Pereira.

Villa only managed one goal from a build-up of 12 or more passes in the Premier League last season. So far this term, they have scored seven goals, with the unwavering Torres leading the way.


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