By Keith Hackett

4th Oct, 2022 | 8:00pm

Ex-Fifa official: Referees will target Emiliano Martinez after new Aston Villa twist

Referees will be on red alert to the time-consuming tactics of Emiliano Martinez and Aston Villa, according to Keith Hackett.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Fifa and Premier League referee suggested Stuart Attwell needed to be more hands-on during Aston Villa’s 0-0 draw with Leeds United on Sunday (2 October).

As quoted by the Daily Mail after the game, Jesse Marsch criticised Aston Villa’s tactics at Elland Road.

Steven Gerrard hit back by suggesting Leeds were guilty of time-wasting when they were reduced to 10 men.

“It was feisty,” Hackett told Football Insider‘s Connor Whitley.

“What you want from the referee is getting the balance right. He tried to allow the game to breathe but it wasn’t working for him.

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“You need to become more proactive as a referee when the game is becoming a bit feisty and players are having a go at one another. We like those sort of games but the reality is, you’ve got to be seen to be in control.

“There were a number of occasions where he should have recognised this was a game where he needed to put his foot on the ball and emphasise control.

“If you go into a game prepared, there should be no doubts that Aston Villa, when they play away from home, adopt time-consuming tactics, not time-wasting, and they are very clever about it.

“For me, I think the referee needed to have more awareness and take a more proactive approach to that aspect of the game.

“That should be shared knowledge among referees. There’s no question, this is not the first Villa game I have seen them absorbing time.

“The reality is that a fair amount of it is within the law. What you can do is have a quiet word with the goalkeeper to speed up goal kicks, you can speed up free-kicks.”

In other news, Aston Villa are sounding out a Spaniard over the manager’s job.