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Emery on Champions League 'dream', ambitions going forward and VAR

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has been speaking to the media before his side go to Crystal Palace on the final day of the Premier League season on SUnday (16:00 BST kick-off),

Here are the key lines from his news conference:

  • Nicolo Zaniolo is out with a metatarsal injury, while Matty Cash, Youri Tielemans, Jacob Ramsey, Alex Moreno, Emi Buendia, Boubacar Kamara and Tyrone Mings are also sidelined.

  • On qualifying for the Champions League after clinching fourth spot ahead of Tottenham: "It was amazing when we got it. At the beginning of the season it was a dream. We worked hard to get there. I told you earlier in the season, until game 33, 34 maybe we could change the target. Even when we lost the fifth place possibility (the Premier League’s additional Champions League place), we had to fight hard again. The party on Tuesday was fantastic. I was really happy with the players and coaches. I know how important it is to be there and compete in it."

  • He continued: "Through the Premier League, to get it is very difficult. To get it is fantastic. Now, after the next challenge, it is about preparing for the new season."

  • On challenging for the title and trying to win the Champions League next season: "It is a dream. It is very difficult. When we were at the beginning of the season playing two matches against Manchester City and Arsenal, we won both matches. We were there. Those teams are amazing, with consistency. I want to get better - I have my dreams and I believe in my dreams. Of course my objective is to win the Premier League or the Champions League. We are not contenders, but it is our dream to get something like that in the league or in the Champions League."

  • On the club matching his ambitions: “When I arrived here, my conversations with Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens were about winning trophies and getting Europe. To get there, you have to be competitive. Even if we don’t have the budget, we have to be intelligent and clinical in our decisions. This is still my objective. We are in the Champions League and we want to keep it. It is our challenge.”

  • On his favourite moment of the season: “When we lost against Nottingham Forest away, it was November. I told the players before the match, my objective at the end of the season was to be there. Tottenham were better than us. I want to compete with this team because we can be close to them. If we are fighting there we will get into the top five. And we lost. After the match, I told them I believed more. It was the best moment to believe with the players. Two weeks ago I told them again: 'Do you remember that moment?'"

  • Reacting to Wolves' resolution to scrap VAR at the Premier League’s AGM next month: "I believe in VAR. I want VAR. The referees need VAR. I want to completely keep it. VAR has to improve as well, but it is fair always. Sometimes they can make mistakes - like me, like everybody. If you analyse deeply, it is completely fair. In England, VAR is being more or less always right."

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[BBC]