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Aston Villa's John McGinn staying grounded as he explains Unai Emery's 'obsession'

Proud skipper John McGinn believes it is too soon to set targets for Villa’s season after revealing how Unai Emery’s obsession for winning is driving the team to greater heights.

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McGinn reckons Sunday’s 2-1 win at Tottenham, which saw Unai Emery’s men climb into the Premier League top four, was a significant one in a campaign alive with possibility.

But while supporters are dreaming of Champions League qualification – or even a crack at the title with Villa now just two points behind leaders Arsenal – McGinn has urged his team-mates to remain focused ahead of a hectic month.

Villa host Legia Warsaw in a crunch Europa Conference League clash on Thursday, before then visiting Bournemouth prior to back-to-back home clashes with Manchester City and Arsenal.

McGinn said: “It’s my job and the manager’s job to keep a lid on things. We’ve got a really important month ahead and then after that we can maybe analyse what our ambitions are.

“It’s our job to just keep going, enjoy the ride and you never know.

“It’s hard to get the balance, you don’t want to get carried away, of course you don’t, because in this league, the minute you’re doing OK, you get stung. We’ve experienced that a couple of times.

“I think the celebrations at the end on Sunday, as much as we were absolutely over the moon because Tottenham are a good team we’ve come and beat, they were still muted as well.

“We’ve got a real desire, a focus, a concentration on what we can achieve this season. We want to achieve something we haven’t done for a long time.

“Last season was our highest finish in the table for a long, long time. Can we go and better that and try to get up there as quickly as possible and keep going, you never know?”

McGinn explained how boss Emery, who has won 24 of his first 38 league matches in charge at Villa, had been “absolutely obsessed” about claiming victory in north London.

It was the first away win in the league for more than two months for a Villa team who have struggled to match their excellent home form on the road.

Goals from Pau Torres and Ollie Watkins gave them victory after Giovani Lo Celso had opened the scoring, as Villa came from behind to win on their travels for the first time since November last year.

McGinn described how a focus on mentality after conceding first had been key to their preparation.

“It’s impossible to put it to one point,” said McGinn, when asked about Emery’s impact. “The mentality, the desire to win, just everything about him has been absolutely brilliant.

“He was obsessed about winning on Sunday, absolutely obsessed. That mindset and mentality is put into our heads.

“When we go behind, before maybe we would have crumbled, but to be fair on Sunday we had our chests out, played strong and I was just really, really proud of the second half.

“If you wanted me to sum it up quickly, I would say it’s impossible.”

Asked for more detail on Emery’s “obsession”, McGinn replied: “It’s maybe not on Sunday, it was Saturday and the day before.

“He shows it in the meeting room. If anyone is trying to get hold of us and I’m not answering, I’m in the meeting room.

“He does a lot of hard work, it’s just drilled into him, he wants to win, he’s won throughout his career and there’s no reason why he can’t do that here.

“He’s drilling that into us in the meeting room. There’s a lot of details, a lot of thinking, a lot of concentration required from us. He’s making people concentrate that I didn’t think were capable! I’m not naming any names!

“It’s unchartered territory for us, really exciting, but we can’t get carried away.”