Aston Villa attempt to relive their past European glory days

Unai Emery, Manager of Aston Villa (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Unai Emery, Manager of Aston Villa (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) /

Aston Villa starts their European campaign this week with a trip to Scotland.

Great record in Europe

Unai Emery has a fantastic track record in European Cup competitions over the last decade and will look to continue that when he takes his Aston Villa side north of the border to face Scottish Premier League side Hibernian on Wednesday evening.

The UEFA Conference League was a happy hunting ground for Premier League rivals West Ham United last season. The Hammers won the trophy and gained passage to the more prestigious Europa League, a competition that Emery has won four times. If Aston Villa can progress through the early stages of this tournament they will be considered favourites for to lift the trophy next May.

Villa are back in Europe for the first time since 2010, and they are more than well-equipped to make a long run for the third-ranked European trophy. This would end a long wait since their last taste of glory in Europe. They won the old-style European Cup back in 1981.

With an indifferent start to the season so far, a 5-1 loss at Newcastle United, followed by a 4-0 win at home to Everton, this trip into European competition will be a good distraction through the early part of the campaign. They will be wary though to find the right balance, as they will not want their league form to suffer.

Tale of two managers

"Emery knows the importance of a good Cup run, especially one in Europe as it brings the club together. “To play in Europe is always a great moment. We want to enjoy it and we want to be a candidate to do something [in the competition]. We have to respect Hibernian because it’s going to be difficult there as they are at home. We have to get into the group being very demanding and respecting the opponent.” He told the club’s official website.On the other side in the dugout, the Hibs boss Lee Johnson realises this game offers a great chance for his players to shine. “You can feel the buzz. This is where we want to be, and who we want to be competing against. We’ve put ourselves in a good position to go and compete against probably the favourites of the competition. We’ve got to bring our individual brilliance to the game. We always carry a threat. We’ve got pace, and we’ve got goals in us.”"