Unai Emery, the new manager of Aston Villa, says winning silverware is at the top of his priority as his eyes are set on taking the club to Europe.
Recall that Unai Emery led Arsenal between May 2018 and November 2019, and now he is entering his second stint in the Premier League by accepting to coach Villa.
While the 51-year-old Spaniard was speaking prior to Sunday’s home game against Manchester United, his first game in command, the former Villarreal coach said: “My dream is to win a trophy with Aston Villa“.
“It’s my personal challenge at the beginning”, he added. “My second dream, my objective will be to play in Europe.”
Emery’s only full season in charge saw Arsenal finished fifth, missing out on Champions League qualification. Emery guided Arsenal to the 2019 Europa League final, which they lost to Chelsea 4-1.
After only 18 months in charge, he was fired in November 2019 as a result of a string of disappointing performances.
Following his departure from Arsenal, he assisted La Liga team Villareal in winning their first European championship, defeating Manchester United 11-10 on penalties in the 2021 Europa League final after defeating the Gunners in the last four.
He now aspires to use that knowledge to help Aston Villa, who haven’t claimed a trophy since winning the League Cup in 1996, succeed.
“I have played against a lot of teams in the world,” said Emery, who was appointed as Villa manager following the sacking of Steven Gerrard. “English teams, for me, are a big challenge to play against them. The Premier League now is maybe the first league in the world.
“Each team gave us some experiences playing against them when I was at Arsenal. I learned playing in Europe for 15 years in a row, against lot of English teams.
“I am happy to be here. I decided to come here because it’s a great project and our ambition is going to be together, step-by-step.
“I want to improve here, to help with my experiences.”
But his primary attention is on the consecutive matches versus Manchester United. After hosting Erik ten Hag’s team on Sunday for his first Premier League game as Villa manager, he and his boys will travel to Old Trafford on Thursday for an EFL Cup third-round match.
Villa is currently 16th in the Premier League, one point above the relegation zone after losing three of their last four games, and they have only won three of their 13 games overall this season. “We have to start thinking only about the next match because we are not in a good position in the table,” said Emery.
“Each match is going to give us a lot of information about the players. I want to test them individually and collectively. The next match is my only focus.”
The head coach of Premier League team Aston Villa is a Spanish football coach and former player named Unai Emery Etxegoien (born 3 November 1971).
Following a playing career that was primarily spent in Spain’s Segunda División, Emery changed careers and began coaching in 2004.
He started off at Lorca Deportiva, where in his debut season he was promoted to the Segunda División. When he eventually joined Almera, he was instrumental in the club’s first-ever promotion to La Liga.
Later, he relocated to Valencia, where he helped the squad achieve top-three finishes. He managed Spartak Moscow for six months after leaving Valencia before relocating to Sevilla in 2013.
Can Emery elevate Aston Villa?
Although Villa are happy with their alternatives in midfield and defense, they will want to strengthen the frontline in either January or the following summer.
After Steven Gerrard approved the transfer of Anwar El Ghazi and Trezeguet and permitted Bertrand Traore and Jaden Philogene to go on loan, the absence of width is concerning. Ismaila Sarr, a Watford player, was quite close to joining Villa, but he decided not to sign, allowing opportunity for signings in the upcoming window.
Emery will collaborate closely with Lange on targets in the broad sectors thanks to his understanding of the Spanish market.
There won’t be any signings made just to give Emery one or two players of his choosing. They will be club choices, solely aimed towards strengthening the team.
Before the World Cup kicks off, Emery is hoped to find a method to revive the floundering Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins.
He will then work with the team during the break, which includes a trip to Dubai in early December. The option of adding a new striker will then be considered.