Aston Villa caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald explains decision to use Jordan Amavi on the wing at Southampton

The 21-year-old left-back was pushed up the pitch for Wednesday night's 2-1 Capital One Cup fourth-round defeat at St Mary's.

Jordan Amavi was back in Aston Villa’s starting XI on Wednesday night but not in his usual left-back role.

With Kieran Richardson retaining his place in the line-up, the 21-year-old Frenchman started the team’s Capital One Cup fourth-round tie at Southampton on the wing, as caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald made five changes from the side that were beaten 2-1 by Swansea City at Villa Park on Swansea City.

The first game of the post-Tim Sherwood produced the same result, however, as second-half strikes from Maya Yoshida and Graziano Pelle ensured that Scott Sinclair’s stoppage-time penalty was nothing more than a consolation goal.

Nevertheless, despite another 2-1 defeat, MacDonald was left encouraged by his team’s performance on the night, picking out Amavi’s 63-minute shift in a more advanced position as one of the highlights.

Speaking to Villa’s official website after the match, the Scot said: “It's probably the same reason I put Leandro Bacuna further forward – those two are the two best crossers at the club.

“We were playing Rudy Gestede with Gabby Agbonlahor up top. We wanted as many crosses into the box. They weren't perfect crosses but we got on the end of them and that's why he was further up the pitch.

“I looked at that and made that decision. If they'd scored one of those goals or two of those goals everyone would say what a great decision.”

Amavi, who joined Villa from Nice in July for a reported £10 million fee, actually began his career as a winger before moving back into defence, but it remains to be seen how much longer he will fill the role under MacDonald.

The fan favourite coach took temporary charge of the club on Sunday following Sherwood’s sacking, and while former Arsenal midfielder Remi Garde is now the favourite for the job, talks have reportedly been stalling over problems persuading his old Lyon backroom staff to join him in England [h/t Sky Sports].

It means MacDonald, who is in his second spell as caretaker after taking the reins following Martin O’Neill’s sudden departure in August 2010, will likely remain in charge for at least Monday night’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur – a role he is happy to fill for as long as needed.

“I have not had any time to talk to anyone,” he added. “I got the phonecall on Sunday. I spoke about what had happened. I spoke to Tim himself but, because of the timescale, I haven't had a chance to speak to anyone.

“To be fair, I'd rather concentrate on getting these lads a little bit more confident and get up the league with a bit of luck.”

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