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Aston Villa manager Unai Emery has no interest in monitoring Tottenham’s results after his side’s quest for Champions League qualification was dealt a blow by a 1-0 defeat at Brighton.

Villa travelled to the Amex Stadium knowing victory combined with a Spurs loss to Liverpool later in the day would guarantee a fourth-placed finish.

But the visitors laboured for large parts of a tight south-coast encounter and were beaten after Seagulls forward Joao Pedro headed home on the rebound when his 87th-minute penalty was saved by Robin Olsen.

Emery, who felt the spot-kick award was “soft”, refused to blame tiredness for the setback as Villa juggle Premier League commitments with a run to the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League.

A top-four finish is still very much in Villa’s hands and the Spaniard wants his players to prioritise recovery ahead of attempting to overturn a 4-2 aggregate deficit against Olympiacos on Thursday evening in Athens.

“We competed but we didn’t get a good result and we didn’t deserve more but overall (we are) positive, happy and proud of our work,” said Emery.

“What is the most important thing now? To think of Thursday? No, it’s rest. Rest now, rest tomorrow.

“I don’t want to watch anything about Tottenham because it’s in our hands.

“I want to recover, regain our freshness, our energy, some players and try to manage the matches we will play.

“It’s more difficult now on Thursday against Olympiacos but we will be there trying to do something a little bit different than we did on Thursday.”

Referee Robert Jones pointed to the spot when Brighton forward Simon Adingra went down under pressure from Ezri Konsa.

Emery thought his team had a stronger penalty appeal in the first half for a challenge on Morgan Rogers, who later departed injured.

“I watched those actions from Morgan Rogers and Adingra and they are soft, both,” he said.

“It’s easier for me and the players (than the referee), we are analysing the video. On the field it is more difficult.

“I was watching both and they are similar – maybe the one against Morgan is more clear.

“We have to accept it because they can make a mistake like we can.”

Villa would have conceded earlier without an impressive display from second-choice goalkeeper Olsen, who once again deputised for World Cup winner Emiliano Martinez.

“Today we needed a goalkeeper and he was here,” said Emery.

“Robin Olsen he played fantastic and even the penalty he saved.”

Brighton, who had a 68th-minute Pascal Gross goal disallowed for a marginal offside following a lengthy VAR review, snapped their six-match winless run with the deserved victory.

Seagulls boss Roberto De Zerbi praised the “big reaction” of his players to last week’s dismal 3-0 defeat at Bournemouth.

“I am proud because we played a great game against one of the best teams in the Premier League,” said the Italian, who referenced his side’s 6-1 thrashing at Villa Park in September during his pre-match team talk.

“They are fourth on the table and playing against the teams of Emery is still very tough.

“We played a good game, we deserved to win, we could score more goals. But to be honest Villa were not the true Villa today, maybe they were tired.

“Olsen was the best player for Villa and you can imagine how many chances we had to score.

“When you are making this bad result (at Bournemouth), you have to show the attitude. I think we showed that today.

“We didn’t play an amazing game in terms of quality of football but we showed pride and a big reaction.”