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Ashley Young: Resurgent Aston Villa should be shooting for Europe

Ashley Young reckons Villa should be shooting for Europe after Saturday’s win at Southampton continued their resurgence under Unai Emery.

The 1-0 win over the struggling Saints was their fifth in seven Premier League matches under the Spaniard and moved them within three points of the top seven.

Young believes Villa, who were hovering just above the relegation zone when Emery took charge, should now be aiming as high as possible over the second half of the season.

“We have to look as high as we can, as we want, to the European places,” he said. “I have said since the time I came back to the club.

“We’ve had European nights before at this club, which were fantastic. The way the manager, his staff, the players and the owners, they see the club as one which should be back in Europe and that is where we have to be looking.

“The manager has that winning mentality. He has a presence and an aura and he wants us to play. You are seeing that more and more with the amount of possession we are having, we are creating chances. We are having more of the ball and having more success.”

Ollie Watkins headed the only goal with 13 minutes remaining as Villa made it three wins from three league matches on the road under Emery.

Young claims the four-time Europa League winner’s mentality has helped bring around the rapid transformation in fortunes.

“There are a few different little things we have worked on in training – attitude, mentality, just his ideas,” he said. “The manager is a winner. He has won at different teams he has managed and he is bringing that winning mentality to everyone.

“At times, you see the way the boys are playing, there is a lot more confidence out there. We want to play more with the ball.

“The fans can see we are taking risks at the back but that is the way you have to play to break teams down. We knew it was going to be tough but the manager has his philosophy and everyone has bought into that.”

Villa’s players celebrated the victory in front of a packed away end at full-time and Young added: “There has always been a togetherness here, with the players and staff and the fans as well, whichever manager it is.

“I was talking to some of the boys who went out and did some running after the game and they said the fans were still there singing.

“You need a 12th man and as I’ve said before, they have been fantastic for us. They have bought into what the new managers wants to do, in terms of how he wants to play. Players have bought into that as well and it can only set us in good stead.”

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