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McLeish calls for defensive vigilance and no "gifts" for Arsenal

Bent, Herd and Heskey out of Arsenal game - with Collins touch and go Tuesday media watch [20.12.11 PM]
McLeish calls for defensive vigilance and no "gifts" for Arsenal

By Paul Brown

Alex McLeish has warned his defenders not to hand out any early Christmas presents this festive season as they prepare for the visit of Arsenal.

McLeish was frustrated to see Villa concede two set-pieces against Liverpool - and the manager has been working hard to correct the stopping shortcomings ahead of the Gunners game.

McLeish has urged "vigilance" under the floodlights of Villa Park tomorrow evening.

He told AVTV: "We made ourselves easy to beat against Liverpool by conceding the two early set-pieces - two gifts really.

"We can't afford to be giving away gifts because I don't see anyone else giving us gifts. We have to work extremely hard for every goal we get.

"It was good first half. I thought it was very even, aside from the slackness at the set-pieces.

"I have watched the first half again and I wasn't too unhappy at all. In the second half we started sloppily and Liverpool may have added to the lead but in the end we huffed and puffed and didn't have the quality against a team of their experience and quality.

"It was difficult for us to get back at them.

"The set-pieces were a concern but we are not going to dwell on it. We are working on it and we have been working on it.

"We are working to try and eradicate the slips at the set-pieces. Is it a lack of concentration? It's about being up close and personal with your immediate opponent too.

"We have worked on these things and hopefully the lads will be more vigilant than they were the other night.

"The ironic thing is after the set-pieces they did lose they tightened up considerably off their own bat. That was before half-time and again after the break.

"If they could have been like that for the first two chances it could have been a much more even game and closer for us to get a good result.

"We don't want to go behind to stupid goals. We would lose those goals to anyone if we mark the way we did.

"Now it's about bouncing back. We always feel we want to react in a positive way. We have been good at bouncing back.

"It's a home game against Arsenal who are in very good form. But when people least expect results and performances that's when it can be a reverse."

McLeish was talking as part of his weekly press conference on AVTV at Bodymoor Heath.

As always AVTV were on hand to record the manager's comments and you can watch the video interview now.

Click here to watch the interview on AVTV.

This article provides only a small snapshot of his comments.

He also discussed:

Arrow BulletJanuary transfer window
Arrow BulletDarren Bent absence against Liverpool
Arrow BulletLiverpool display
Arrow BulletSet-piece work
Arrow BulletArsenal quality 
Arrow BulletRobin van Persie
Arrow BulletDarren Bent transfer speculation
Arrow BulletSquad appetite
Arrow BulletBarry Bannan/West Midlands Police link-up

Click here to watch the interview on AVTV.



AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 20th December 2011
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