McGinn: We have to up our game

By Graham Hill

JOHN McGinn reflected on a ‘crazy’ season – when Villa were nearer to relegation than promotion at one point.

The Villa midfielder is on international duty with Scotland just 10 days after the Championship Play-off Final that took Dean Smith’s side to a Premier League return.

But the club’s player of the year admits it was not until later on in the campaign when he thought promotion was realistic.

McGinn told reporters: “It’s a bit crazy. If you’d asked me at the start of the season I would’ve just laughed.

“If you’d asked me again at Christmas, when we were nearer relegation than promotion, I would’ve been the same.

“That was why we were so relieved at full-time we had achieved something special. Aston Villa deserve to be in the Premier League.

“People were saying we’re a big club who should be there and we over-celebrated – but the run we went on to get into that position was incredible and we deserve great credit for that.”

McGinn says the secret to his own form is the consistency he now has in his game.

The Villa powerhouse added: “It’s been brilliant personally. Over the season I think it’s the most consistent I have been.

“I just wanted to go down to England and to make some sort of impact but to make the impact I have, I’m delighted with that.

“Hopefully I can continue to improve. The St Mirren and Hibs fans will tell you I showed potential but wasn’t consistent enough. I think I’ve found that consistency.”

McGinn now hopes Villa can emulate Wolves who finished seventh in their first season back in the top flight – and qualified for the Europa League.

He added: “I think we have to be realistic – but also have some sort of ambition.

“You see certain teams come in and they change a little or a lot – some do well, some don’t.

“We want to emulate Wolves but at the same time we need to be realistic and know how difficult it’ll be.

“We’ve lost a lot of boys out of contract or going back on loan, but the club’ll be working hard to bring in replacements.

“Everybody in the squad is aware we need to up our game to prove we can be Premier League players.”

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