Aston Villa manager wants to turn Villa into title challengers

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Aston Villa manager Unai Emery aims to transform the club into title contenders after securing a spot in the Champions League.

Villa clinched fourth place, qualifying for the Champions League, following Tottenham’s 2-0 loss to Manchester City on Tuesday.

Heading into Sunday’s final Premier League game of the season against Crystal Palace, Villa are 20 points behind leaders Manchester City.

Emery is determined to close that gap and elevate Villa to the next level as they pursue their first title since 1981.

He said: “It is a dream. It is very difficult. When we were at the beginning of the season playing two matches against City and Arsenal, we won both matches. We were there.

“Those teams are amazing with consistency. I want to get better and I have my dreams and I believe in my dreams. Of course my objectives is to win the Premier League or the Champions League.

Emery said his Villa team celebrated their achievement on Tuesday night after Spurs’ defeat.

“The party on Tuesday was fantastic. I was really happy with the players and coaches. I know how important it is to be there [in the Champions League] and compete in it,” he said.

“Through the Premier League, to get it is very difficult. To get it is fantastic. Now, after the next challenge, it is about preparing for the new season.”

Emery’s only league title came in 2018 with Paros St-Germain but he has won the Europa League four times.

He says Villa will still have to be clever in the transfer market, despite the financial boost of Champions League cash, but feels the club can match his ambitions.

He said: “When I arrived here, my conversations with [owners] Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens were about winning trophies and getting Europe. To get there you have to be competitive.

“Even if we don’t have the budget, we have to be intelligent and clinical in our decisions. This is still my objective. We are in the Champions League and we want to keep it. It is our challenge.”