Unai Emery admitted Aston Villa’s Champions League chase is on but called for calm in their quest for the top four.
Villa host Premier League leaders Arsenal on Saturday following Wednesday’s impressive 1-0 win over champions Manchester City.
It lifted them to third in the table – just four points behind the Gunners – having won their last 14 top-flight home games, equalling a club record previously done in 1931 and 1903.
“(Qualifying for the Champions League) of course is a big motivation for us. Every place now is important for us,” said Villa boss Emery, ahead of the meeting with his former club.
“We can wait until match 30 or 32 in case we are in the top four in that moment, then maybe we can think we are contenders to be there.
“Now, we have to be happy and we have to be focused. The match on Wednesday is finished and we enjoyed that moment with our supporters in Villa Park, but now we have to focus 100 per cent on the match.
“Again, it’s a big challenge and a great moment but we’re very focused on our professional work for tomorrow.”
Emi Buendia and Tyrone Mings are long-term absentees with knee injuries and Emery knows he will have to rotate, with their final Europa Conference League group game against Mostar next week.
He added: “We are adding experiences, and experiences in Europe, playing a lot of matches, four matches in 10 days.
“I’m going to be very deeply analysing how we can face the match tomorrow, hopefully being better in our performances individually and collectively.
“How we finished the match on Wednesday is very important because they did an amazing effort but a hard effort. If you want to play in this level, playing against the best teams in the world in the Premier League, the challenge is very hard.
“We had to rest a lot after the match we played on Wednesday, we (also) played on Sunday and last Thursday, we are not having a lot of information about some injuries.
“But it’s going to be very, very important how the players can tell me physically and mentally how they are for tomorrow.”