Aston Villa keeper not guaranteed Carabao Cup final start despite Leicester heroics


Dean Smith thanked keeper Orjan Nyland for helping Aston Villa reach the Carabao Cup final but refused to guarantee the shot-stopper a Wembley start.

Villa saw off Leicester in a gripping semi-final as sub Trezeguet fired them into the final on Sunday March 1 with a stoppage-time winner.

But Villa needed a string of saves from Norwegian Nyland,29 – including an amazing one-handed save to tip Youri Tielemans’ shot onto the bar in the 34th minute.

That kept Villa in front after Matt Targett’s opener and they won it to spark a pitch invasion despite Kelechi Iheanacho levelling 18 minutes from time.

But Villa boss Smith may prefer experienced new signing Pepe Reina in goal at Wembley after pitching the Spaniard straight into his Premier League side, following a 6-1 thrashing by Manchester City earlier this month when Nyland played.

Orjan Nyland made an amazing one-handed save to tip Youri Tielemans’ shot onto the bar

Villa boss Smith said: “We were indebted to Orjan Nyland who made three wonderful saves – two down low and then one onto the crossbar, which was really top drawer.

“He has certainly given me a conundrum, but they’re ones I want.

“Pepe has not trained since the Watford game. He’s had a tight calf, so Orjan was always in to play this game and he showed me what he’s about.

“He’s been very unfortunate.

Nyland saves at the feet of Leicester’s Ayoze Perez

“He snapped his Achilles in the Championship last year. Then Jed Steer came in and did really well, and I brought in Tom Heaton and Nyland has had to bide his time.

READ  Jurgen Klopp's reason for refusing to sell Liverpool's Dejan Lovren to AC Milan

“Then unfortunately he came up against a very good Man City team and they scored six goals.

“Then Pepe came in and did well.”

Defeat condemned Leicester’s former Celtic boss Rodgers to his first loss in a domestic cup competition in 33 games.

Pepe Reina was parachuted straight into Villa’s team after signing but did not play against Leicester due to a tight calf

Villa now wait to learn the winners of Wednesday night’s semi-final second leg between Manchester City and Manchester United with holders City 3-1 up.

Villa lost 6-1 at home to champions and League Cup holders City earlier this month, and Pep Guardiola are favourites to reach Wembley again.

But Smith added: “We know it’s going to be tough against Man Utd or Man City but the hard part is getting to a cup final and we’ve managed to do that against a very good Leicester team.

“There’s certainly motivation because we certainly helped them to the 6-1 win.

Manager Dean Smith is confident his Villa side can beat Manchester City or Manchester United in the final

Read More

Mirror Football’s Top Stories

“My players know that and I’ve had a very good response from them since then.

“We went to Brighton and got a draw, beat Watford and now have beaten Leicester. So there has certainly been a very good response.

“We’ve got a proud history in this competition and if we could go and lift this trophy for the sixth time I’ll be a very proud man.”

READ  Roger Federer eyes Novak Djokovic revenge in must-win Wimbledon final rematch





READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here