By Nick Mashiter, PA
Aston Villa boss Unai Emery backed Leon Bailey after he left the pitch in tears following his horror miss.
The forward missed an open goal in stoppage time as Villa grabbed a 1-1 derby draw with Wolves.
It denied Villa victory – however fortunate it may have been – after Danny Ings’ leveller snatched a point for the underperforming hosts.
Daniel Podence’s opener gave Wolves a deserved lead but they remain stuck in the Premier League drop zone.
Bailey has struggled for form and fitness since a £25million move from Bayer Leverkusen in 2021 but Emery still feels he is performing.
He said: “I’m happy with him, he was crying but it is good because he was feeling. He was taking responsibility to score and he didn’t do it. He can feel this responsibility.
“I’m very happy with his commitment and performance, he was playing inside and outside. It was good to learn more with him.
“At the end we had chances to score and win with a huge opportunity with Leon Bailey, we can be happy because we created it. They (the players) were supporting him and trying to improve for the next matches when he will have the same chances.”
Bailey wrote on Instagram: “I am really sorry Villans, I feel at blame for not coming away with all three points tonight. It’s really hard to take and I’m very disappointed in myself. Surely will be very difficult to sleep tonight but I’ll try to keep my head up.”
Emery also insisted he is planning to keep goalscorer Ings this month after reported interest from Southampton and Everton.
He added: “Danny is a very good player. I spoke with some players in a position to leave but not with him. The idea is to keep him in the squad.”
Wolves started well and Podence gave them a classy 12th-minute lead when he swapped passes with Joao Moutinho, ghosted past Douglas Luiz and found the corner.
Villa were ragged and kept offering Wolves chances with Emiliano Martinez – back in the starting XI after his World Cup success with Argentina – saving at Matheus Nunes’ feet.
But the hosts found a leveller three minutes later when Tyrone Mings’ long ball split the Wolves defence, Jose Sa hesitated and slipped and Ings scored his seventh of the season.
Rayan Ait-Nouri shot at Martinez but Bailey should have snatched the points when he ran on to Ings’ pass and rounded Sa. He just had to roll the ball into the empty net but scuffed his shot woefully wide.
Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui said: “We’re a little bit disappointed but it’s a good thing for us. We are improving, believing more in ourselves and to be ready for a long and hard race.
“We have to be ready to arrive in the last minute, believe in ourselves, knowing we are going to have a lot of difficulties but step-by-step we are going to continue improving.
“We had the control for 60 minutes but at half-time we lost Podence and without the ball we felt tired and had less control.
“He has been very, very important. I hope it’s a little injury but we have to wait for the tests.
“They had a chance to win but we had three very clear counter attacks to close the match. They had this moment but we have overcome – for a lot of the match – Aston Villa.”