Sunday Sport

Villa title talk has to wait says Emery


ASTON Villa manager Unai Emery insists he will not talk about his side being title contenders until much later in the season.

Villa have beaten both Premier League champions Manchester City and last season’s runners-up Arsenal 1-0 in their last two games to move up to third in the table, just two points behind leaders Liverpool.

They also advanced to the last 16 of the Europa Conference League on Thursday after finishing top of Group E, but Emery is refusing to look too far ahead.

“I will speak about it (the title race) when we are facing (match) day 30, 32 and in case we will be there maybe I can set this objective in my mind, with the players, with the club and everybody,” Emery said ahead of Sunday’s trip to Brentford.

“But now, we are third and it’s amazing. We are there because we are deserving it. It’s been very, very difficult and the next challenge is on Sunday against Brentford, a very difficult match.

“Against teams like Brentford, more or less, we are having more problems to get a good performanc­e and to face them imposing our game plan.

“Why? Because the Premier League is very difficult. Wolverhamp­ton is very difficult. Nottingham (Forest) is very difficult. Bournemout­h is very difficult. Sunday is very difficult.”

Brentford have lost four of their last five league games but Emery is taking nothing for granted against a side which finished just two points behind Villa last season.

“Brentford is a team with a very good coach, very good players and they are improving a lot as a club. They are very competitiv­e, very

competitiv­e,” Emery added.

“They were close to us last year and they were challengin­g us to play in Conference League. We did it, and now they are struggling a little bit with injured players, important players, but they are competitiv­e.

“They are going to play in the same speed they play at, tactically being very, very intense, very competitiv­e. At home they are feeling strong with their supporters.

“We are going to face them on Sunday trying to be more competitiv­e than them, better than we did in Bournemout­h, trying to be successful.”

Brentord’s injury problems are piling up ahead of Sunday’s clash with Aston Villa at the Gtech Community Stadium.

Mathias Jensen has been ruled by an adductor problem and Josh Dasilva is sidelined until the new year because of hamstring damage.

And while defender Nathan Collins could return from an ankle issue against Villa, Rico Henry, Aaron Hickey, Kevin Schade and Kristoffer Ajer remain in rehabilita­tion.

Frank admits the list of absentees may force him to recruit reinforcem­ents in the transfer window.

“Almost from game one we’ve struggled a little bit with injuries, but we still have a good group of players who are willing to fight,” Frank said.

 ?? ?? ON FIRE: Ollie Watkins and the rest of the Aston Villa team
ON FIRE: Ollie Watkins and the rest of the Aston Villa team
 ?? ?? KEEPING A LID ON: Emery

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