Aston Villa: New manager Unai Emery’s ‘dream’ is to win a trophy
Unai Emery says winning silverware is at the top of his to-do list as new Aston Villa manager – before taking the club into Europe.
The 51-year-old Spaniard was speaking before his first match in charge at home to Manchester United on Sunday.
He arrives for his second spell in the Premier League, after previously managing Arsenal between May 2018 and November 2019.
“My dream is to win a trophy with Aston Villa,” said the ex-Villarreal boss.
“It’s my personal challenge at the beginning. My second dream, my objective will be to play in Europe.”
Emery led Arsenal to the 2019 Europa League final, which they lost 4-1 to Chelsea, but missed out on qualification for the Champions League after finishing fifth in his only full season in charge.
He was sacked in November 2019, after just 18 months at the helm, following a poor run of results.
The Spaniard has a track record of success in European competition, leading Sevilla to three straight Europa League titles, between 2014 and 2016.
After leaving Arsenal, he went on to help La Liga side, Villareal, to their first European title, beating Manchester United 11-10 on penalties in the 2021 Europa League final after seeing off the Gunners in the last four.
He now hopes to use that experience to bring success to Aston Villa, who have not won a trophy since lifting the League Cup in 1996.
“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 to play in Europe for 15 years in a row, against a 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.”
His first focus, however, is on back-to-back games against Manchester United. After hosting Erik ten Hag’s side for his first Premier League game as Villa manager on Sunday, they then travel to Old Trafford for a third-round EFL Cup tie on Thursday.
“We have to start thinking only about the next match because we are not in a good position in the table,” said Emery, with Villa 16th in the Premier League, one point above the relegation zone after losing three of their last four matches and winning just three of 13 games all season.
“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.”