'I'd rather be going into it with someone like Emery'

Aston Villa players celebrating
[Getty Images]

Former Aston Villa right-back Kenny Swain believes the club have set the standard for themselves and they need to continue to push on following their Champions League qualification.

Swain won the European Cup with Villa in 1982 and next season will be the first time the club has played in Europe's elite competition since 1983.

Swain said: "When others look at the history of English clubs there's only six who have won it - and I played for three of them." (Chelsea, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa)

"Some may look at Aston Villa and think 'where have they come from?' We had all of that in 1981-82 when we were up against clubs thinking 'who are this lot?'

"If they look down the history of the club they will realise Villa are something - they have actually won it."

He added: "Even to stay in the top half of the Premier League takes some doing, to finish in the top five is an amazing achievement. If you can get into the top four and make that a consistent objective - that is the kind of objective Villa will be setting now.

"Maybe not winning the Premier League, although there is no harm in setting that as an objective - but to continue the progress they have made."

Villa manager Unai Emery has won four Europa League titles and he helped Villa get to the Conference League semi-finals this season. Swain believes that Emery's experience in Europe will be crucial, stating: "He has a different appetite for European football because he has been so successful.

"I'd rather be going into it with someone like that at the helm than someone who is licking their lips about their first chance."

"They (the players) failed at the last hurdle (this season) but the experience they’ve had this year and the suffering at the last moment - that drives your adrenaline. The experience will stand them in good stead for next year."