Villa set sights on Europe
Faulkner feels McLeish's men should be pushing for top-five finish
Last Updated: November 25, 2011 12:12pm
Alex McLeish: Is expected to have Aston Villa challenging in the upper reaches of the table
Aston Villa should be aiming to secure European qualification this season, according to the club's chief executive Paul Faulkner.
A bright start to the campaign suggested Villa could be in the mix this term, but they have slipped off the pace somewhat in recent weeks.
One win in their last five outings has left them seven points adrift of Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.
There is, however, still a long way to go and the race for a top-five finish is expected to be keenly-contested.
Faulkner feels Villa should be in contention come the end of the season, with Alex McLeish having made quality additions to the Villa Park playing staff.
He told the Birmingham Mail: "I think Europe sits there as a goal and this year that would be our goal. That's what we want to try and achieve.
"It's not easy but I believe it's do-able this year. We've got a lot of ambition.
"The Premier League is very tough but Aston Villa is a great club and we should be up there challenging at the top of the league and we should be there pushing for Europe.
"I think that's got to be the goal and that should always be the goal for a club like Villa.
"I really do think if we can put a good run together that we've got a good squad."
Faulkner added: "A big part of what we feel is that being in Europe is important psychologically for Villa.
"We're still one of only four English clubs to win the European Cup. We want to be experiencing those European nights.
"I know I want that back, I know Randy Lerner (club owner) wants that back.
"Everyone knows the financial returns from the Europa League aren't as great as the Champions League - but they are still significant."
Meanwhile, Villa midfielder Barry Bannan has been banned from driving for 18 months following his involvement in a motorway crash on 23rd October.
The 21-year-old Scotland international, who has also been fined £4,500, has admitted to four offences and has been charged with drink driving, failing to stop after a road accident, driving without due care and attention and driving on a provisional licence.