Express & Star

Unai Emery lauds Aston Villa fans for one specific reason

Unai Emery has lauded the Villa Park atmosphere for enabling his players to play without pressure.


Villa bid to avoid back-to-back Premier League defeats for the first time this season with Fulham the visitors tomorrow.

But the hosts will have an eye on making club history with a post-war record-equalling effort of 13 straight league wins, something Emery says is possible due to the feeling at the stadium.

“It’s something very, very positive and I like the positive energy of every supporter and every worker here – players and coaches,” Emery said. “I am not feeling, ever, to play something negative, like under pressure. I want to feel we are playing really focused on our game plan, with the adaptation of the opponent always.

“Always, collectively and individually, trying to do our best with our focus and qualities. Then try to create a strong structure at home, and again a strong atmosphere. We try to enjoy connecting with them.”

Emery once again played down his side’s position as contenders for a Champions League place this season.

Villa, in fifth, trail Arsenal and Liverpool by just two points but the boss still believes beleaguered duo Manchester United and Chelsea, struggling down in eighth and 10th respectively, hold the favourites tag.

The Villa Park boss is happy for everybody connected with the club to dream, however. He added: “Still Manchester United and Chelsea are more contenders than us to be in the top four, top five, top seven. We are one team trying to get our opportunity to be there.

“We are not a contender. We are really a team who has to face every match trying to do all our best, be ambitious and try to improve and build a strong team and a strong structure.

“But when we are focusing on 38 matches, now we are fifth, yes very good. We are not really feeling like we are a contender for the top seven.

“We can dream and we can try to go match-to-match thinking to improve and thinking to be fifth, thinking to get one step ahead in the table.

“We are doing it our way and we are trying to have our dreams, working every day to try and get our dreams.”

Diego Carlos is a doubt after coming off against AZ Alkmaar in the Europa Conference League on Thursday while Jacob Ramsey (foot), Emi Buendia and Tyrone Mings (both knee) remain out.