Ashley Young offers brilliant insight on Emery influence at Villa

Ashley Young has insisted Aston Villa should be aiming for Europe this season, and has provided some fascinating insight on Unai Emery’s impact thus far.

Villa made it five wins in seven Premier League games since Emery took charge after securing victory over Southampton this past weekend, while it’s 16 points from a possible 21 under the Spanish tactician.

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In that impressive run, we’ve registered three consecutive away wins and we’re now unbeaten in our last four, and so that has resulted in us moving up to 11th place in the Premier League table and to within three points of sixth place.

Emery was keen to stress after the win over Southampton that we must remain focused on improving and doing better to build on the strong start since his arrival, albeit there was disappointment in the cup competitions, and he insisted that he will continue to be very demanding of his players in order to set new standards and levels to get to where we want to be competing.

While Young emphasised the point that Villa’s ultimate aim is to get back into Europe, something that we hope to have a chance of achieving as early as this season, he provided some excellent insight into the influence and impact that Emery has had on the squad since he was appointed.

“The way the manager, his staff, the players and the owners, they see the club as one which should be back in Europe and that is where we have to be looking,” he is quoted as saying by The Express and Star. “The manager has that winning mentality. He has a presence and an aura and he wants us to play. You are seeing that more and more with the amount of possession we are having, we are creating chances. We are having more of the ball and having more success.

“There are a few different little things we have worked on in training – attitude, mentality, just his ideas. The manager is a winner. He has won at different teams he has managed and he is bringing that winning mentality to everyone.

“At times, you see the way the boys are playing, there is a lot more confidence out there. We want to play more with the ball.

“The fans can see we are taking risks at the back but that is the way you have to play to break teams down. We knew it was going to be tough but the manager has his philosophy and everyone has bought into that.”

While it could be argued that Villa shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves for now and the focus should perhaps be on the next game and not thinking about Europe already, that is possibly the difference Emery has made to the confidence and belief within the group.

As Young says, he is a winner. He has won practically everywhere he has been previously, and so he hasn’t come to us to just secure mid-table safety, he wants Europe and trophies and to build something special.

Further, we’ve seen signs of an identity, style of play and philosophy emerge over the past three months, and key principles of those are reflected in Young’s comments above. Villa are trying to dominate and control possession more, starting with passing it out from the back, and it is leading to more confident displays and convincing wins coupled with a real direction to our play.

Naturally, there is still a long way to go for Villa, and reinforcements this month will no doubt be crucial too in order to add quality depth and competition. That said, the difference that we’ve seen under Emery has been clear, and it’s hoped that we continue to build on the foundation being laid and implement his ideas more efficiently and effectively on a consistent basis in the weeks and months ahead.

Importantly, it sounds as though the players have fully bought into what he’s trying to do, and with the positive upturn in form, the Villa fans are certainly backing his methods to turn us into a genuinely competitive side again that is pushing for Europe.