Aston Villa boss Unai Emery insists he is under no pressure after his side intensified their pursuit of European qualification by moving into the top six.
Villa claimed a sixth win from seven games as they beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 at Villa Park to become firm contenders for a spot in the Europa League – or maybe even better.
Second-half goals from Bertrand Traore and Ollie Watkins were enough for Villa, whose rise under the former Arsenal manager is incredible.
Villa were in 16th, one point above the drop zone, when Emery took over from Steven Gerrard, but set the tone for his tenure with a 3-1 win over Manchester United in his first game in charge.
And the Spaniard says that is when he was under pressure.
“Pressure is there when you’re in the bottom and you have to win,” he said. “Pressure was when I was here playing against Manchester United. I remember that moment and I was a little bit under pressure! Not now, not now.
“But I like it and I grew up playing under pressure as a coach. I like this, playing against the best, being very, very determined because you are playing for something to win.
“I want to share with the players; it’s not pressure and it’s to be ambitious and to get to being competitive, to being stronger and stronger.”
The win was marred by a first-half injury to Leon Bailey, who had to leave the pitch with a hamstring injury.
Emery added: “Yes, Leon, hamstring. Hopefully it’s not a big injury.”
Forest dropped into the relegation zone for the first time since January as the pressure cranked up on boss Steve Cooper.
They were masters of their own downfall as after a promising first half they gifted the lead to Villa when Jonjo Shelvey inexplicably passed to Traore in his own area instead of clearing the ball.
Cooper, who could yet lose his job after owner Evangelos Marinakis warned him performances and results “must improve immediately”, revealed Shelvey had apologised after the match.
Asked how Shelvey was, Cooper said: “Not great. He won’t mind me saying that straight away he apologised for the goal.
“We win and lose together so I’m frustrated how they got in down the side as well as the mistake. We win and lose together, that’s always how it has been and that’s always how it will remain.”