LONDON, Nov 30 — Unai Emery hopes he is just getting started at Aston Villa after overseeing a remarkable transformation in the club’s fortunes during his first year in charge.

Yesterday marked four years to the day since the Spaniard was sacked following an unsuccessful spell at Arsenal.

But his return to the Premier League has been a completely different story, with Emery leading Villa from battling relegation into the top four of the English top flight.

“It’s a different moment,” Emery said ahead of today's Europa Conference League clash at home to Legia Warsaw. “I have four years’ more experience and I’m always trying to be better tomorrow than today.

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“I tried to get this opportunity and I’m not going to stop in my mind while I am feeling strong. I am going to try to go forward.

“Hopefully I can stay here a long time because we have a very good challenge here — developing a lot as a club, the players, myself on how we can face the ambitious challenges we are trying to aim for.”

A seventh-place finish last season meant Villa qualified for Europe for the first time in 13 years.

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Emery, 52, is a Europa League specialist, having won the competition three times with Sevilla, and once at Villarreal in 2021.

Villa need just a point to secure progress to the knockout stages of the third-tier Conference League from their final two group games.

However, they trail Group E leaders Legia on head-to-head record after a 3-2 defeat in Poland in September.

Topping the group would ensure direct qualification for the last 16 rather than a two-legged playoff to reach that stage. — AFP