Iraola previews tough test against Aston Villa

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AFC Bournemouth are back in action this weekend as they travel to high-flying Aston Villa on Sunday. 


Andoni Iraola’s men had mathematical safety confirmed last weekend, but the manager was keen to state how he does not want standards to slip as the final five games of the season approach. 


It is no secret that Bournemouth had a tricky start to this season, but since the first nine games their form has been incredible, and they have already beaten last season’s points total. A top-half finish is still very possible for Iraola’s men, and they will surely be all guns blazing wanting to achieve this. So good is their recent form, that the recent two games without a win now seems unusual, and they will still be full of confidence heading to Aston Villa.


Villa are enjoying an incredible season of their own this year, fighting for top four and just last night secured a spot in the UEFA Conference League last four. Unai Emery has them flying playing a high-line, front-foot football. With this style being similar to Andoni Iraola’s, it should make for a thrilling game on Sunday. 


Andoni Iraola sat down with the media, including Nerve Sport on Friday afternoon, to preview the fixture. 


On the injury front, Iraola confirmed that: Luis Sinisterra is going to be absent for a while and at the moment it is unclear if he will play again this season. There is however a small chance Tavernier will be recovered before the end of the season, but it will be touch and go. 


In better news, Semenyo will be back as part of the squad providing, he gets through tomorrow's training session ok. 


Last time out, against Manchester United, several key decisions went against the Cherries, leaving Iraola less than impressed. Nerve Sport asked the Bournemouth boss if he had sought any clarity from the PGMOL on these decisions, to which he replied: 


“I think the club, because they have the contacts, discussed some of the plays. My opinion is very clear. They tried to make the last decision look like a trip, but there was no contact with the foot, the holding is a different law. I repeat it is not a trip. 


The penalty for me is very very very very very harsh, very harsh. The penalty is very very very very harsh. I cannot lie.”


That makes Iraola’s opinion pretty clear! 


Elsewhere in the press conference, Nerve Sport praised Lewis Cook, and asked Iraola if he feels he is sometimes overlooked when England squads are being discussed: 


“It is very difficult. I understand because for us he is amazing and valuable, but if I was the England manager, I appreciate I have a lot of good players. There are 20 players performing very well and he cannot pick everyone.” 


Enes Unal signed for the Cherries on loan in January and has found minutes hard to come by, mainly due to the exceptional form of Cherries front man, Dominic Solanke. With a decision needed to be made as to whether he will be kept for next season, Iraola admitted he deserves more minutes, but it is a tricky situation: 


“He needs the minutes, but for me, it is very difficult to take the decision not to play Dom Solanke. 


I admit I have probably not been fair with him because he’s only started one PL game, but he has helped us a lot and is training very well with a great mentality, therefore it is very difficult not to start him, but, my job is difficult and I hope he continues the same way and takes the chance when he gets it.


 I have been tempted to start both, but I have not done this, but there is always a chance he can start as he needs the minutes, after the long injury he had but first I need to think about the best 11, but he is doing well.”