Ahmed Elmohamady wants Aston Villa to hit the ground running against Derby

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The Egyptian is hoping the Claret and Blue Army can secure promotion to the English top-flight this season after last term’s disappointment

Ahmed Elmohamady has urged Aston Villa to hit the ground running in their Championship play-off final with Derby County at Wembley Stadium on Monday.

The Claret and Blue Army saw off West Bromwich Albion on penalties in the semi-final of the play-offs after they were locked at 2-2 on aggregate.

Last season, Villa missed out on a chance to play in the Premier League after losing to Fulham in the final of the play-offs.

Elmohamady, who was part of the squad, has urged his side to learn from the failure when they take on Frank Lampard’s men.

“This time we need to be focused to go from the first minute. Last year we left it too late. We gave everything in the second half but it was too late,” Elmohamady was quoted by Express & Star.

“When you have been there and felt the disappointment, seen how down the fans are. This is all in your mind before the game.

“You want to go out and give everything. Hopefully, it will be our time, this time. This club deserves to be in the Premier League. This year we have to get it right and get the club back to the Premier League. It is so important for everyone.”

Aston Villa defeated Derby 7-0 on aggregate in their previous two meetings this season, but the 31-year-old is expecting a tougher challenge from the Rams at Wembley.

“It’s a completely different game. You saw Derby against Leeds,” he continued.

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“They were beaten by them twice in the league but managed to get through in the play-offs. It is all about what happens on the day.”

Next month, Elmohamady will be expected to play a key role for Egypt in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, having been included in the 25-man provisional squad to the competition.

The Pharaohs are in Group A along with DR Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

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