Matt Maher: Premier League ambitions really are the be all and end all
Villa supporters cannot say the clues weren’t there.
Unai Emery said it during an interview with club media during the international break and Ezri Konsa hinted at it when speaking after Sunday’s win at Chelsea.
Just in case no-one had been paying attention, Emery repeated it in the wake of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup defeat to Everton.
“The Premier League is 100 per cent the most important competition for us,” said the Villa boss.
If anyone was still in any doubt as to the club’s priorities this season, there it is in black and white.
For all the talk, from both head coach and players, of the desire to end Villa’s long trophy drought, the truth is the Premier League conquers all.
A top-five finish, which this season might well be sufficient to snare a place in the Champions League and the associated riches it entails, trumps silverware.
That’s the reality of the modern game and has been for a while. With four wins from their opening six top-flight games, Villa have made a more than handy start to that particular quest.
It doesn’t make the manner of Wednesday’s cup exit any less frustrating.
For one night only, it almost felt as though Villa Park had been placed inside a time machine and transported back to the not-too-distant past, complete with half-empty stands and an on-field performance which left much to be desired.