Unai Emery downplayed Aston Villa's title aspirations despite a stellar 1-0 victory over Manchester City that propelled his side to third place in the Premier League.
Villa's remarkable form, including a club-record 14th consecutive home win courtesy of Leon Bailey's deflected strike, has positioned them just four points behind league leaders Arsenal.
City manager Pep Guardiola acknowledges Villa's potential involvement in the title race, but Emery remains cautious, stating, "We are not contenders. There are seven teams who are contenders more than us." As Villa prepares for a crucial clash with Arsenal, Emery emphasizes the focus on the upcoming game and deems sustaining their current position challenging.
While tempering expectations, Emery acknowledges the possibility of a top-four finish, suggesting that if Villa maintains their current quality and desire, a title bid might be conceivable with time. He notes, "Maybe by game 30 or 32, but not yet."
Despite Emery's attempt to manage expectations, he concedes that achieving success against top teams is part of a gradual coaching process. The victory over City marked Emery's first triumph over Guardiola in 14 attempts, occurring 15 years after their initial encounter. Emery reflects on the experience, stating, "Beating him for me is not something special. It is really a process I am doing as a coach."
In summary, Emery remains grounded about Villa's title chances while acknowledging the ongoing progress and potential for contention as the season unfolds.