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Villa in Hong Kong: Young stresses simplicity in defensive improvement

Villa in Hong Kong: McLeish hails immense Petrov influence Villa in Hong Kong: Given impressed with lionhearted defence
Villa in Hong Kong: Young stresses simplicity in defensive improvement

By Paul Brown in Hong Kong

Luke Young believes there's a simple reason why Villa's defence is back on top form - 'easy does it.'

Young says boss Alex McLeish is drilling into the defenders that simplicity is the key.

The right-back says the gaffer has told his players not to overcomplicate the art of stopping.

He said: "The gaffer has been telling us to not make silly mistakes at the back.

"If there's not a ball to play, don't play it. Keep it simple.

"He's eager for us not to overcomplicate things and just keep it simple.

"It's key not to make it difficult for ourselves."

Young also spoke of his delight at playing in front of one of the best goalkeepers of the last decade in Shay Given.

He says it's gotten to the stage now where the lads aren't surprised to see him pull off a world-class save.

He continued: "Shay made some outstanding saves against Blackburn. It was no surprise to see Shay do that. He's been doing that his entire career.

"He has been one of the - if not the best - goalkeeper in the Premier League over the last 10 years.

"He pulls off so many class saves off. It's got to the stage where you just expect him to do that. He is an excellent goalkeeper and I'm really looking forward to play alongside him in the Premier League."

Young also believes midfield protectors Stan Petrov and Jean II Makoun could hold the key to marrying defensive solidity with attacking flair next season.

Manager McLeish is attempting to add an extra layer of steel to the claret and blue backline.

And Young suggests the presence of Petrov and Makoun in holding roles could protect the defence without compromising the team's ability to cause problems for opponents.

He added: "It is a fresh start for everyone now. Everyone is back on the ball now and wants to go out there and play to the top levels.

"Hopefully as a team we will be a little bit more defensive now too. That's been one of my bugbears over the years while I've been here that we've been perhaps a little gung-ho at times and not as solid as an eleven.

"We've got a back four but you also need to protect your back four. I'm not sure we've done that enough over the past few years.

"But we have been playing with two sitters. We'll see how that goes but it might help the expansive players go up the other end and do what they do best. Hopefully that will benefit everybody."

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By @AVFCOfficial 29th July 2011
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