Milner eyes top four
James Milner believes Aston Villa should be setting their sights on Champions League qualification.
Last Updated: 24/09/09 4:14pm
James Milner believes Aston Villa should be setting their sights on UEFA Champions League qualification.
Martin O'Neill's men challenged for fourth last season before fading away to finish sixth and they have already been knocked out of the Europa League, which Milner admits is 'a waste'.
The midfielder has been pleased by how Villa have responded with six successive victories in all competitions but he now wants to keep the run going.
Manchester City and Tottenham are both aiming to push the established 'big four' this term but Milner does not think Villa should be lowering their targets.
He said: "Going out of Europe was disappointing. It's important a club like Villa are playing in Europe. It was a blow to go out so early particularly after all the hard work we had put in last season.
"When we didn't get through to the group stages of the Europa League, it was such a waste.
"Now we need to take that negative and turn it into our favour in league games, which we have done so far, and hopefully be back in Europe again next season.
"We want to improve year on year and the Champions League has to be a target although it's probably tougher than last season because of all the money spent by clubs like Manchester City and Tottenham.
"But we have a lot of quality. The manager has made some good signings and it's important we gel as a squad."
Milner hopes to help the team by scoring more regularly and he is happy to remain the designated penalty taker despite missing from the spot against Cardiff in the Carling Cup on Wednesday.
"I don't really set targets. Maybe I should because I want to score more although I'm not thinking of a specific number.
"The way we have been playing gives me freedom to go and attack.
"We've looked pretty solid defensively and it's a great system when we are going forward. But I'm happy as long as I'm contributing to the team, whether it's scoring or creating chances.
"As for the penalties, I am quite happy to take them despite missing one now.
Ashley Young scored one at Liverpool and missed one against Rapid Vienna so, when we were given another one, I took it."