·28 November 2023
·28 November 2023
Despite being one of the most in-form teams in Europe and sitting just two points off the top of the Premier League summit, Unai Emery stated his Aston Villa side are “not a contender” following their impressive 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Despite falling behind 22 minutes into the game courtesy of a deflected shot from Giovani Lo Celso, Villa responded with goals from Pau Torres and Ollie Watkins to earn three valuable points in north London.
The victory saw Villa overtake Spurs to rise to fourth position in the Premier League and the Spanish manager believes the victory will provide huge confidence for his team.
He said: “We can get confidence when we win here against teams like Tottenham. I am the same in my mind and the explanation.
“We have 38 matches, and we have to be consistent and have to try to get each opportunity with three points, getting a good position in the table.”
Emery has now overseen as many Premier League games at Aston Villa as his predecessor Steven Gerrard and the stark difference in results truly highlights the club’s remarkable transformation under the Spaniard.
Gerrard was sacked last October after just 11 months at Villa Park. He took charge of 38 Premier League games and in that time, Villa amassed just 44 points. It was no great surprise that the former Liverpool legend was dismissed given the amount of investment put into the team.
Fast forward just over a year and Gerrard’s successor has led Villa into the top four for the first time since 2009, picking up an astonishing 77 points from a possible 114.
Despite the club’s resurgence, Emery has downplayed chatter that Villa can comfortably maintain their position in the table and even suggested that there are at least seven teams in the league that are better contenders.
He said: “We are there now but we are not a contender. There are seven teams more a contender to get the top seven, top four, but when we are there we are going to try and keep it.
“Life is passing very quick! I really want to enjoy each moment. Even when we were losing at Forest in Nottingham, I told the players I was very happy with them and we should accept some defeats.
“Today we won and I am very happy, but I am trying to keep a balance myself, between my players and the supporters. Only the future is giving us, and we don’t know how it is coming.
“After this victory, we can be happy this week and prepare for the match on Thursday. We have the Conference League and then try to focus on Bournemouth on Sunday. It’s a difficult and very different match.”