Aston Villa’s new manager Unai Emery has set his sights on leading the struggling club to their first major trophy in more two decades.
Emery is back in the Premier League after leaving Spanish side Villarreal to take charge of Villa following the sacking of Steven Gerrard.
The 51-year-old flopped during a brief reign as Arsenal boss that ended with the sack in 2019 but he is still highly regarded across Europe after impressive spells with Villarreal and Sevilla.
Emery reached the Champions League semi-finals with Villarreal last season after winning the Europa League with the club in 2021. He also previously led Sevilla to a hat-trick of triumphs in the Europa League.
In stark contrast to Emery’s trophy-laden career, Villa have not won a major prize since the 1996 League Cup.
Speaking on Friday at his first press conference at the club, Emery pledged to end Villa’s trophyless run.
“My dream is to win a trophy with Aston Villa. It’s my personal challenge at the beginning,” Emery said ahead of his first game in charge against Manchester United on Sunday.
“My second objective could be to play with Aston Villa in Europe. Now we have to start thinking only about the next match because we are not in a good position in the table.”
Villa are 16th in the Premier League after winning just three of their first 13 matches.
The former Paris Saint-Germain manager’s first job is to lift Villa away from the relegation zone, with little time to infuse the squad with his football philosophy during a survival fight.
“I want to create a new way,” said the Spaniard. “We need time but in football time isn’t (there) as much.
“I’m happy to be here. We decided to come here because it’s a great project and our ambition is going to be together step-by-step and I want to improve here and help with my experience.”
Emery, who left Arsenal after failing to convince in his 18 months at the Emirates Stadium, faces a challenge at Villa, who are just one point above the relegation zone.
“I am now 51 years old and in my experience I’ve coached in Spain, France and the Premier League and I have played against a lot of teams in the world,” he said.
“The English teams are a very big challenge. I came to play against them because the Premier League is maybe the first league in the world.”