The Nigeria international came in from the bench on Sunday but could not help the Yellow Submarines avoid their first league defeat this term
Villarreal CF manager Unai Emery has reinstated his belief in the abilities of Samuel Chukwueze, despite the Super Eagles winger being at fault for the goal conceded in his side’s 1-0 loss at Real Betis.
Emery introduced Chukwueze in the 54th minute of the clash as the visitors sought the game’s opening goal.
But the Nigeria international was caught ball-watching as Rodri stole in at the back post to bundle home Betis’ winner in the 61st minute.
It was the first goal Villarreal conceded this term and only the second match in which the team failed to score.
Unai Emery is disappointed that Chukwueze could not make a positive difference against the landlords of the Estadio Benito Villamarín.
But the former Arsenal boss insists his coaching crew is working on helping the flying winger improve his defensive awareness.
Speaking to the press after the encounter, Emery said, “Chukwueze has quality, and we are working on improving his defensive performance. He has lacked the two meters necessary to defend from post to post.”
The defeat to Real Betis is Villarreal’s first of the season and their first loss in all competitions since May 15 (1-2 to Real Sociedad).
The Yellow Submarines sit in the fourth position on the Spanish La Liga table, with three wins and one draw.
Emery’s men will look to return to winning ways when they honour their continental commitment away to Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Thursday.
Chukwueze has one assist in five substitute appearances in La Liga.
But the 23-year-old dribbler has started and scored in Villarreal’s last two games in the Europa Conference League, including in the 4-3 win over Lech Poznan last week.