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Martinez is desperate to guide red-hot Villa into Europe
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Cian Cheesbrough
Emi Martinez is desperate to fire Aston Villa into Europe
Emi Martinez is desperate to fire Aston Villa into Europe

Emi Martinez wants to make European qualification for Aston Villa his next big achievement in football, according to former Villans goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler.

A World Cup and Copa America winner with Argentina, Martinez is looking to help guide Villa back into Europe for the first time since 2010.

They have enjoyed a rapid transformation since Unai Emery took charge last November, with a 10-game unbeaten run in the Premier League lifting them to sixth ahead of facing Manchester United on Sunday.

Cutler, 46, was hailed the "best English goalkeeper coach by miles" by Martinez after his four-year spell with the West Midlands side ended when Emery was appointed.

And the highly-rated coach insists his ex-protege is focused on making continental football and silverware regular features at Villa Park.

He told LiveScore: "Martinez is one of the best goalkeepers, if not the best, in the world.

"He wants to be winning tournaments, he wants to be getting trophies, he wants to be picking up medals. 

"He's won all you can with Argentina. Now he wants to win domestically and in Europe.

"He's the type of character to be pushing others around him to do that. He sets standards every day and it looks like it's spreading within the group."


Making up for lost time

Martinez, 31, was something of a late arrival to the top level having spent eight years struggling to make the grade at Arsenal before his switch to Villa in 2020.

His career has been on an upward trajectory since and Cutler believes making up for lost time is spurring him on. 

The ex-West Brom and Walsall coach added: "He's described the remaining games as cup finals and that's everything he is.

"His desire and drive to win games and keep clean sheets is the best I've ever known.

"He wants to make sure he's winning things now because he's 31."

Licence to thrill

Cutler was one of the first people Martinez contacted after Argentina's dramatic World Cup penalty shootout win over France in Qatar and he regularly watches Villa games with the Argentine's family.

While the Villans No1 has not shared details of Emery's methods, he has had nothing but good things to say about how the team is progressing under the ex-Villarreal and Arsenal boss.

Cutler added: "Unai's extremely detailed tactically. He [Martinez] will enjoy that because he likes getting on the ball. He likes possession-based football.

"They suit each other. He's really enjoying it.

"The thing with Emi now is he's in a team that wants to get on the ball.

"The players are comfortable having the ball now because they've had success with it. They believe in it and that's massively important."

Emiliano Martinez has been a pivotal player for sixth-placed Aston Villa
Emiliano Martinez has been a pivotal player for sixth-placed Aston Villa

Exciting times

Having led Villa's much-improved backline to 11 clean sheets this season, Martinez is not expected to be short of admirers this summer.

But with Villa beginning to match the grand ambitions of owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, Cutler believes there is no reason Martinez cannot enjoy the success he craves by staying put.

He said: "Villa have got really ambitious owners who have have put a lot of money into the football club already. Their aim is to win things.

"So I think there'll some big names coming in to have a real go next season, especially if they're in Europe.

"Let's be honest, if you put another 20,000 seats in Villa Park it will be full. There's a great atmosphere around the place.

"There's no better place to be when the place is rocking. There's no reason they can't get into Europe and have a right go."


Premier LeagueAston VillaEmiliano Martinez
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