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The villains of the piece

22 September 2017

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Nottingham Forest manager Mark Warburton is expecting to see his side produce a performance at Aston Villa on Saturday and hopes to leave a large home crowd at Villa Park disappointed.

The Reds make the trip to the West Midlands aiming to bounce back from their Carabao Cup defeat at Chelsea on Wednesday and the Forest boss says his side have learnt valuable lessons from their cup exit at the hands of the champions.

He said: "We've had to analyse the Chelsea game, see what we did well and more importantly what we can improve upon. Now all the focus is on Aston Villa and we have to go there now and deliver a performance for ourselves and the supporters.

"They're one of the big teams in the division with an outstanding stadium and a great history so we're looking forward to what will undoubtedly be a tough encounter. We'll learn and be better because of the Chelsea game in midweek but the players have to put that behind them now."

Aston Villa have come in for some criticism following a mixed start to the campaign but Warburton says that is completely unjustified and expects Steve Bruce's side to be right in the mix for promotion at the end of the season.

He said: "I've read some of the criticism of Aston Villa so far this season and it is absolutely ludicrous. We're so early in the campaign and they're a big club with lots of new players who will take time to settle so I understand Steve's frustration from that point of view.

"We know Villa are starting to gel and that they have some very talented individual players so it will be a tough game. The one commodity you need in football is time so hopefully Steve will get that at Villa and they can start to build their season, but hopefully not on Saturday.

"We think we know Villa's formation and the bulk of their team but we have to make sure we are ready to adapt to whatever they throw at us. They have a side packed with quality players but so do we so I'm sure it will be a high-quality fixture in front of a terrific crowd."

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