Unai Emery confident Aston Villa can challenge for top-four spot

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery believes his side can be top-four contenders this season if they continue their remarkable progression.

Villa have improved exponentially under the Spaniard’s regime and posted a 12th successive Premier League home win after they beat Luton 3-1 at Villa Park.

Goals from John McGinn and Moussa Diaby gave them the upper hand before Luton captain Tom Lockyer put through his own net. An Emiliano Martinez own goal got Luton on the scoresheet in the final 10 minutes, but it was Villa’s afternoon.

They have lost twice this season – to Newcastle and Liverpool – and Emery wants his side to keep improving.

“You have to be very demanding and focus each on match,” he said of his side’s chances.

“We are winning matches because we are being very focused, we are being very demanding in our defensive structure, we are trying to build a team with high commitment.

“We are between another seven teams, they show their power consistently. But if we are working like that and doing this process, being demanding, being strong, of course we can progress and still keep the moment we have now in the table.

“I want to face each match being focused, preparing properly and being demanding.

“We have played Liverpool and Newcastle and they were better than us. When we lost against Liverpool and Newcastle, I told the players I want to reduce the distance they showed when they come here.”

They have not lost on home soil since they lost 4-2 to Arsenal on February 18, but Emery thinks there is more to come.

“There is still a lot of work to do and still a lot of things we can improve.

“Tactically, try to be more consistent for 90 minutes. I am very happy but I think there are things that can improve,” he added.

Luton boss Rob Edwards knows that his side’s season will not be judged on games like this.

“Let’s be honest, today was a difficult afternoon for us. There is a gulf between the two teams, at the moment Aston Villa are an exceptional team, in a great moment, confident, brilliant manager and very good players. At 3-0 down with 30 minutes to go I’m on the touchline thinking, ‘This is difficult’.

“I’m really pleased with how the players stayed in it, stayed committed, that was important. It’s important the fans can see we never ever give in and stick at it.

“It was a difficult afternoon but proud of how we stuck to the task.

“Today wasn’t going to define us, we know that, we are in a different battle to Aston Villa at the moment, there is a difference in the teams, but we have to learn from it.

“I want to make us better and me better.”