What Unai Emery told Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens about Aston Villa project

Aston Villa extended Unai Emery's contract until 2027 earlier this week
Aston Villa extended Unai Emery's contract until 2027 earlier this week -Credit:Photo by Ryan Crockett/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Unai Emery has warned Aston Villa mustn't get lost in a long-term project and look too far ahead in the future, but instead focus on the next game to build the consistency required to remain competitive at the top of the table.

His approach has worked so far, guiding Villa back into European football last season and now, with only four games remaining of this campaign, his side are in a strong position to secure Champions League qualification. Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens had a five-year plan to get the club back into Europe, which came off when Emery led the club on a remarkable ascent last term.

Villa want to form part of a 'great eight' in the coming years after securing European football for two seasons in a row, with a top six finish already guaranteed this term. Emery has explained that while Villa must have long-term goals, his focus is about the here and now, because only then can he build the consistency needed to achieve V Sports' ambitious goals.

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"Hopefully, that is the idea, but to really confirm it we will need time," Emery explained when asked whether Villa can become part of a top eight alongside Saudi PIF backed Newcastle. "We will need how we are progressing even after we are arriving here. We have here the possibility to be fifth or fourth but even getting the Champions League position, we have to confirm it in the next month, the next year, maybe even the next two years.

"To keep it for a long time is the confirmation we can make. There is one example in my career. When the owners were signing me and speaking about the project, telling me it was two years, three years. No, the project is the next match, to win.

"We can only consolidate the project if we are winning and really getting the short objective. We can speak about the project for three years ahead. But it is not realistic for me.

"As a coach, the project is the process you have in front and how you are adding or getting objectives in a short time. The project here was three years and a half but we needed to consolidate it each month, being trusting in our process and our way."

Emery added: "We have in the Premier League the best teams, players and coaches. It is the best league in the world and the most difficult. There are other leagues with big clubs of course. Here overall it is not only seven teams who are contenders to be in the Champions League, it is others as well, like West Ham, Fulham, even Wolverhampton and other teams.

"Crystal Palace are playing now fantastic. They have three great forwards. It is difficult to see teams in Spain, Germany and Italy playing in the league in 10th position with those kind of players. That is the difficulty we are facing. Newcastle beat Tottenham 4-0 two weeks ago and last week lost to Crystal Palace.

"This is the reality. It is the reason I argue about being consistent, strongly. Even when we lost 5-1 we recovered our focus. Now when we can expect more, it is not my focus. It is to keep everything we are doing strongly and create a strong structure in everything. When we are working in the club, in the training ground, on the pitch.

"There is still a lot of work to do. If we can do it, we can get the consequences. Maybe it is like we are to be now, fourth, to try and face the teams in front - Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City. But it is very, very difficult. Of course, I can dream and I want to dream about being with them. But it is difficult.

"The level of Liverpool is amazing. Damia and Monchi were watching the match on Wednesday against Everton. They said the rhythm was fantastic and Liverpool played fantastic. But they lost! Why? Because Everton played fantastic. It is difficult. You know it, I know it.

"After knowing it is how we can get better. Getting better after the season we have had now is difficult but I want to continue getting better. That is the challenge, to get better."

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