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Aston Villa: Emery eyes European glory after securing Champions League spot

Unai Emery

Unai Emery hopes to replicate the great Aston Villa side of 1982 and lead the club to European glory.

Villa last night secured their place in the Champions League after Tottenham’s 2-0 defeat at home to Manchester City guaranteed them a fourth-placed finish in the Premier League.

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It completed a remarkable season under the hugely impressive Emery, who could not hide his delight at having taken the club into Europe’s elite club competition.

Speaking at the club’s awards night – at which the players and fans watched Spurs go down to Erling Haaland’s double, he said: “It’s a very special day today. It’s our dream, it was our dream when we started the season to be here.

“To play Champions League is, after the Premier League, the best.

“You can play in the Premier League against the best teams in the world, it’s very difficult.

“When you are playing in the Champions League you are playing against the best teams, at the same time, from other countries. And it’s amazing.

“And we are always responsible about the history here, we know the history of Aston Villa is so long and so successful.

“Even in the Champions League, before it was the European Cup, we knew the responsibility was to try to increase our level, try to be demanding and to dream.

“And now to win the Champions League like Aston Villa did in 1982, if we are there and we are in, then it’s more easy than if we are not.

“It’s another dream and the most important is to have dreams and try to work hard for it.

“I want to enjoy more and, next year, now the new challenge starts for us. To build again a team, being strong and being strong to go and always increase our level.”

Villa have not qualified for the Champions League since 1982-83, when it was still the European Cup, and captain John McGinn was quick to highlight the journey he has been on since moving to the West Midlands in 2018.

He told the club’s official website: “On behalf of all the players, it’s been an amazing season.

“Obviously, Tyrone [Mings] and I were at the club in the Championship, us two, Jacob [Ramsey] and Kortney [Hause] were the only ones remaining.

“There’s four of us here who were part of that Championship journey.

“We got promoted, we got into the Premier League and were seven points behind with four games to play, we managed to stay in the league.

“We kept building and thankfully we’ve achieved something we haven’t done for 40 years.

“So, on behalf of all the players and staff, we’re over the moon, we’re delighted.”

Picture of Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.