Aston Villa to make late check on Emiliano Martinez for Olympiacos second leg

Emiliano Martinez looks set to return to the Aston Villa side as they plot a dramatic European comeback against Olympiacos.

The Argentina goalkeeper has missed the last two games with a thigh injury suffered in the 2-2 Premier League draw with Chelsea 10 days ago.

But he has been training for the last couple of days and made the journey to Athens on Wednesday as Villa try to overcome a 4-2 first-leg deficit.

Olympiacos recorded an impressive 4-2 win at Villa Park in last week's first leg
Olympiacos recorded an impressive 4-2 win at Villa Park in last week’s first leg (Nick Potts/PA)

Martinez was sorely missed in last week’s first leg when Villa were run ragged by the Greek side, leaving them with an uphill task if they are to reach a first European final since 1982.

Emery was tight-lipped about whether the World Cup winner would start in Athens, other than to say it would be decided on the morning of the match.

“He’s with us today,” Emery said. “I don’t want to keep information from you. He was injured last week after the match against Chelsea, 10 days.

“Tomorrow I will speak with him and the doctor to see if he is 100 per cent available.

“But if not I believe in Olsen. When we are building the team it is not only the players in the starting XI.”

Emery was far less forthcoming with news on Morgan Rogers, Youri Tielemans and Nicolo Zaniolo.

“We have some players close to coming back but I don’t know exactly if they can play tomorrow or not,” he added. I prefer to wait for tomorrow.”

The Spaniard will have to channel his past as he has experience of overcoming a 2-0 first-leg deficit in a European tie when his Sevilla side came back to beat Real Betis in the Europa League 10 years ago.

If Villa were able to repeat the feat, in what is their biggest European game in 40 years, Emery says they would overcome their biggest challenge of the season.

Aston Villa last won a European trophy in 1982
Aston Villa won the European Cup in 1982 (PA Archive)

“Experiences can always help, being successful or not,” Emery added. “But we have to create and build a new way and we lost the first leg clearly.

“Tomorrow will be difficult to come back but we must play thinking to extend after the first 90 minutes, the game plan we had that didn’t work well but expect tomorrow to do better.

“It’s going to be very difficult here with the atmosphere.

“This is the challenge tomorrow, the biggest challenge we are going to face this year, playing in this semi-final.”