Unai Emery’s emotional speech to Aston Villa players and fans after Champions League qualification | Football

Unai Emery has led Aston Villa into the Champions League for the first time (Picture: Getty Images)

Unai Emery is daring to dream of Aston Villa winning the Champions League after the club secured a return to Europe’s top tier for the first time in over 40 years.

Tottenham’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester City on Tuesday night saw Villa guarantee a top four finish and will play Champions League football for the first time next season.

Villa won the European Cup in 1982 and reached the quarter-finals the following season before losing to Juventus, but have not dined at Europe’s top table since then.

Emery has changed that and is dreaming of much more than just qualifying for the competition.

‘It’s a very special day today,’ said Emery, speaking at an awards ceremony at Villa Park with players and fans in attendance. ‘It’s our dream, it was our dream when we started the season to be here.

‘To play Champions League is, after the Premier League, the best. You can play in the Premier League against the best teams in the world, it’s very difficult. When you are playing in the Champions League you are playing against the best teams, at the same time, from other countries. And it’s amazing.

‘And we are always responsible about the history here, we know the history of Aston Villa is so long and so successful. Even in the Champions League, before it was the European Cup, we knew the responsibility was to try to increase our level, try to be demanding and to dream.

‘And now to win the Champions League like Aston Villa did in 1982, if we are there and we are in, then it’s more easy than if we are not. It’s another dream and the most important is to have dreams and try to work hard for it.

‘Of course, I’m very, very, very happy and very proud of you (the supporters), the players and everybody. I want to enjoy more and, next year, now the new challenge starts for us. To build again a team, being strong and being strong to go and always increase our level.

‘This is our objective and always it’s trying to enjoy with you, the supporters; you are the heart of the club. Up the Villa!’

Emery celebrated Villa’s Champions League qualification in style (Picture: AVFC Official)

Emery celebrated Villa’s Champions League qualification in style (Picture: AVFC Official)

Villa’s final match of the season is at Crystal Palace on Sunday but they are already confirmed to finish fourth so it matters little.


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