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Emery warns surging Villa to ignore title talk

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery. Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP

Unai Emery insists Aston Villa cannot afford to start dreaming of a Premier League title challenge despite their “amazing” rise to third place.

Emery’s side have moved within two points of leaders Liverpool after statement victories over Manchester City and Arsenal in their last two league games.

Villa also advanced to the last 16 of the Europa Conference League on Thursday after finishing top of Group E.

But, while fans are beginning to anticipate Villa pushing for their first English title since 1981, Emery urged his players to keep their feet firmly on the ground.

“I will speak about it (the title race) when we are facing matchday 30, 32 and in case we will be there maybe I can set this objective in my mind, with the players and with the club,” Emery told reporters 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 difficult and the next challenge is on Sunday against Brentford.

“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 who finished just two points behind Villa last season.

“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,” Emery said.

“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.”

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