Merson aims new barb at Aston Villa; criticises this key aspect

General view of Paper planes on the pitch thrown by Aston Villa fans in protest - Villa Park

Aston Villa suffered defeat in midweek to Luton Town.

Paul Merson - Walsall Manager

Paul Merson says Aston Villa’s players showed little heart or fight as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat to Luton Town in the EFL Cup in midweek, he wrote in his weekly column for the Daily Star.

The Villans endured a terrible campaign last season as they were relegated from the Premier League and they started life in the Championship in disappointing fashion with a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.

New boss Roberto Di Matteo has spent on new players this summer, yet shaking off that vulnerability from last season is without doubt a tough ask and perhaps more difficult than first imagined.

Aston Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo

Villa weren’t threatening enough at Hillsborough last weekend, whereas at Luton it was a different problem entirely as a number of players shirked from responsibility and showed little heart.

“The players have got to show some heart because I didn’t see that the other night when they were beaten by Luton. It was a shame,” Merson wrote for the Daily Star.

“It did not look good. When Luton got on top there was no fight. It was like watching England against Iceland again, although at least Wayne Rooney was trying in that game.”

“Rooney always wanted the ball. No one wanted the ball for Villa. There was no fight. There were no leaders. It was hard to watch. They have got to be careful because they could go down again.”

Aston Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo looks dejected at the end of the match

Villa have strengthened since the Luton defeat, bringing in Wales international defender James Chester from West Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion.

But the lack of leadership and strength in the middle is arguably their Achilles heel at present, and without an enforcer to replace Idrissa Gueye they could struggle to make an immediate return to the top-flight.

A recent report in The Sun has linked Villa with Crystal Palace’s Miles Jedinak and Cardiff City’s Aron Gunnarsson.

General view before the game - Villa Park

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