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Unai Emery hints Nicolo Zaniolo struggling to find Aston Villa form

Unai Emery has hinted that Nicolo Zaniolo is struggling to find form for Aston Villa but the club is doing everything to get him back to his best.

Zaniolo was accused of involvement in an illegal betting scandal that has seen two of his Italy teammates banned from football.

He was questioned by investigators on October 27 regarding the situation, which has seen Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali and Juventus youngster Nicolo Fagioli banned for ten and seven months respectively.

It has left a mental effect on the player, and he was taken off at half-time for the second straight game as Villa suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest yesterday.

Zaniolo, who has joined on loan from Galatasaray, has insisted he has never bet on football.

Emery said, as quoted by the Daily Mail (November 6, page 71): “In terms of the individual circumstances and his mind, he has to try to be 100 percent free to try to play and we are trying to do it (help him).

“He is not playing in his best position but he is helping us and I want to increase his level with us.

“We want to give him minutes to understand his teammates, feel good with them and progressively try to forget the problems he had.”

Villa need a reaction this week

This was Villa’s first defeat in seven games in all competitions, and Emery will want a reaction from his side in midweek.

They face AZ Alkmaar in the Europa Conference League on Thursday before taking on Fulham at Villa Park on Sunday.

A blunder from Emiliano Martinez gifted Forest their first win in five games. The Argentine goalkeeper won the Yashin trophy at Monday’s Ballon d’Or ceremony, but his error helped Forest take a two-goal lead.

It was a lacklustre performance from Villa, and they need to get back to winning ways.

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