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  • Davies targets away goal and clean sheet
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Davies targets away goal and clean sheet

 
By Claire Boden in Vienna

Curtis Davies is aiming for a clean sheet and an away goal in tonight's Europa League play-off clash with Rapid Vienna.

There is a sense of déjà vu as Villa came unstuck against the same opponents at this stage of the competition last year, courtesy of the away goals rule.

Nikica Jelavic's early goal at the Gehard Hanappi Stadium effectively changed the whole outcome of the tie with the scores being level at 2-2 on aggregate after both legs.

However, this time around the classy defender says Villa have learnt from their mistakes and can gain revenge on their opponents by progressing through to the group stages of the Europa League.

"We need to go into the game and keep a clean sheet longer than 15 seconds and hopefully with the team we put out we can get a result," Davies told AVTV.

"An away goal is massive. If you can get an away goal you can go home and be confident - we are always confident we can beat anybody at Villa Park. Hopefully one of the young lads can get themself a nice little European goal and we will go from there.

"Like I said last time we weren't expecting to be 1-0 down after 15 seconds so the game plan changed. We have to be a bit more forward-thinking early on and I guess their game plan will change as well.

"We are confident in the way we play football and in the players we have. We are hopeful we can go out there and put on a performance and get the away goal we need."

A poignant memory taken away from the Gehard Hanappi Stadium by the Villa players last year was the atmosphere generated by the Rapid Vienna fans.

And Davies is relishing competing in such a cauldron of noise again.

"I love the atmosphere," he recalled. "I prefer to play in a stadium that has got a massive atmosphere.

"The stadium here has got a loud atmosphere even through the warm-up. I have not really seen anything like it so it's good to have a great atmosphere rather than playing somewhere that has only got a few thousand fans who are not really bothered if you win or not.

"It's a good atmosphere and hopefully the Villa fans that come along will give us some good backing as well."

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