Ollie Watkins criticises team's mentality after Brentford draw

Aston Villa v Brentford FC - Premier League
Aston Villa v Brentford FC - Premier League / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages

Ollie Watkins has expressed his frustration with the team's lack of a "big-team mentality" following their 3-3 draw against Brentford on Saturday.

Despite holding a comfortable 2-0 lead, Villa allowed Brentford to mount a comeback, with Watkins scoring a late equaliser to salvage a point. This marks the third occasion this season that Villa have let a two-goal advantage slip away.

In December, they were up 2-0 against Manchester United but ultimately lost 3-2, and in March, Luton managed to come back from a 2-0 deficit before Villa secured a narrow 3-2 victory. Watkins said in a post-match interview with BBC:

"I'm not belittling my team, I'm part of it. We need to somehow figure out when we're 2-0 up how to shut up shop. It's frustrating. We lacked that big-team mentality where they kill games off which is really disappointing."

Villa's inability to close out matches has put their pursuit of a top-four finish in the Premier League at risk. They currently occupy 4th place in the table, three points ahead of 5th place Tottenham, but have played two more games.

Unai Emery
Aston Villa v Brentford FC - Premier League / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Brentford's three goals came in a frantic nine-minute spell in the second half, all resulting from crosses into the box. Villa manager Unai Emery conceded,

"We lost control completely. It's not normal. Maybe emotionally as well we were a little bit upset."

Despite the setback, Villa remain in contention for a Champions League spot. Even if they miss out on 4th, 5th place could be enough to qualify due to England's strong position to claim one of UEFA's extra slots. Villa hold a 12-point lead over 6th place Manchester United, although they have played two more matches.

As the season reaches its climax, Watkins' comments emphasise the need for Aston Villa to cultivate a ruthless winning mentality if they are to secure a coveted Champions League berth. The team's ability to learn from their mistakes and close out crucial games will be put to the test in the coming weeks.

Villa's recent performances have shown glimpses of their potential, but consistency and mental fortitude will be essential if they are to achieve their goals. The team must work together to address their defensive frailties and develop a more resilient approach when protecting leads.

With the support of their passionate fanbase and the guidance of manager Unai Emery, Aston Villa have the opportunity to make history by securing a return to the Champions League. However, as Ollie Watkins' comments suggest, the team must first conquer their own mental hurdles and prove they have what it takes to compete with the Premier League's elite.