EPL

Yorke hails 'remarkable job' by Emery at Villa

By Sports Desk May 30, 2024

Former Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke believes Unai Emery has done a "remarkable job" and hopes they can maintain the new level they have reached.

Emery joined Villa in November 2022 when the club was in a relegation fight, and led them to a seventh-place finish, securing qualification to the Europa Conference League.

In his first full season in charge, the Spaniard oversaw another impressive campaign as the Villans finished fourth in the Premier League, ensuring Champions League football for the first time since 1982-83.

Villa also reached the semi-final of the Europa Conference League after seeing off Ajax and Lille in the knockout stages, but were knocked out by eventual champions, Olympiacos.

On Monday, Villa confirmed that Emery had signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2029.

Yorke, who spent nine years at Villa between 1989 and 1998, says the club have finally found the right balance.

"They've got good backers, good owners, invest heavily in their team and that shows what they want, but they've got also you need a correct manager and I think Unai Emery has come into that category," Yorke told Stats Perform.

"Villa is a tremendous football club. Emery has done a remarkable job to get Villa in the Champions League, a bit like Newcastle last season in many respects.

"Now the expectation is can he now really show what kind of manager he is? Now the [board] and the chairman will back him, bringing new players, bringing players to enhance that team, and they are going to try and maintain that [status as a top club].

"If he does that next year and qualifies for the Champions League again, plus probably win a cup, I think he then shows what really a true fantastic manager he is for Villa.

"To achieve their goal this season, I think the chairman, the fans, everybody will be thrilled that Villa is in the Champions League next year."

Despite their strong season, Yorke admits that Villa will need to think about adding to their squad to cope with the demands of playing in the Champions League.

"You have got to say to the owners, listen I need another three, four, five players to come in because now you're playing with the big boys, you're going from Champions League to the Premier League to the Champions League with the big boys," he added.

"You need a squad to be going into these games. The players will find it totally different because they're not used to that.

"They have got get used to that very quickly, but you've got an experienced manager in that type of way of playing [in Europe as well as domestically]. It will be new for Villa.

"It will be interesting to see how they handle that type of story going forward, how they handle the Champions League.

"It takes a really unique manager to then get a team advancing out of that group, then into the latter stage from the round of 16.

"[If Emery does that], now you're showing your true colours, but I think they've got to add maybe three or four new players to the squad that will help them to make sure that they can maintain [a challenge] on both fronts."

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