HomePremier LeagueEmery demands more from favourites Villa

Emery demands more from favourites Villa

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Unai Emery is hoping Aston Villa can live up to their billing as Europa League favourites and progress past Ajax tomorrow night.

The teams fought out a goalless draw in Amsterdam last week, leaving the last 16 tie delicately poised ahead of the return at Villa Park.

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Villa’s tag of favourites is partly due to their excellent form in the Premier League – they sit fourth with 10 games to go – and partly because of Emery’s incredible record as a four-time Europa League winner.

“We didn’t show we are favourites [last week],” he said. “They showed us they want to beat us and get something in this competition.

“Europe is prestigious, it’s a UEFA trophy, it’s adding another objective in our season and it’s very important for the players.

“We are making a very big effort, we are getting better and now is a key moment. We were speaking this morning about who is favourite but in Europe it’s very difficult to be favourites.”

Ajax endured a horrendous start to the season and sat bottom of the Eredivisie in October but the appointment of John van ’t Schip has steadied the ship and they have gradually risen to fifth.

And Emery is wary of the threat they will pose.

He added: “They have some experienced players and some young players. They competed against us very well.

“I expect a lot, with the players we have analysed. We know how difficult it will be tomorrow, how difficult it is in Europe.

“For Ajax it’s a very important match as well. We are going to be humble in our preparation, with respect and then we are going to try to impose our plan, try to play better than the match there. 

“We drew there, more or less good result, but not enough. Of course it was a good result for them as well.”

Villa will be without the injured Jacob Ramsey while both Ezri Konsa and Nicolo Zaniolo are suspended.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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