Express & Star

Unai Emery: Aston Villa can dare to dream

Unai Emery claims high-flying Villa can dare to dream big after declaring Saturday’s visit of Arsenal their biggest test yet.


Villa host the Premier League leaders looking to follow up Wednesday’s stunning win over reigning champions Manchester City.

The 1-0 victory has been hailed one of the finest performances by a Villa team in recent history and prompted City boss Pep Guardiola to declare Emery’s men title contenders.

Villa’s haul of 32 points after 15 matches is the same as Leicester in their 2015-16 title winning season and while Emery is a long way short of calling his team hopefuls, he has no qualms with supporters pondering all possibilities after a superb start to the campaign.

“Of course, we have to dream always,” he said. “I am dreaming and sometimes my dreams are very important for me as it’s an aspiration to get my best.

“It was amazing what they achieved in that moment. It is very, very difficult. We are going to do our way and have our personality. We are going to build a team and in our style.

“We must be consistent and the mentality is important and that is that there is still a lot of work to do. There is another experience we will face against Arsenal.”

The challenge for Emery is to rouse his players to put in another mammoth effort less than 72 hours after they emptied the tank against City.

Arsenal also had an emotional win after beating Luton 4-3 in the last minute, albeit they head into Saturday’s match having enjoyed an extra days’ rest.

“Playing against them with a day less resting I think it is not an excuse for us,” said Emery. “We have to adapt and we are professional and at the high level.

“We want to be there for a long time and we must not think about taking an excuse after the match with whatever result we take.”

He continued: “It is my challenge every day, to be better today than yesterday and better tomorrow than today. I am not going to stop.”

“Of course, tomorrow is going to be very difficult, we are confident at home and are feeling strong at Villa Park. Tomorrow is the biggest challenge we are going to face yet.”