Unai Emery: Aston Villa hire “world class” manager once described by Jurgen Klopp as “detail-obsessed”
Aston Villa have announced the permanent appointment of former Arsenal and PSG manager Unai Emery from Villarreal.
The Spanish tactician joins the struggling Premier League club from last season’s Champions League semi-finalists following the sacking of Steven Gerrard, who was tossed on the managerial pyre after a heavy 3-0 defeat to Fulham last week.
The Villans recovered from that capitulation in west London to thrash Brentford on Sunday 4-0, with interim boss Aaron Danks masterminding an important, confidence-boosting win ahead of Emery’s Premier League return.
It’s incredible just how quickly the mood can shift in football. This time on Thursday, Villa fans were travelling back up the M40 disillusioned and anticipating a relegation dogfight; fast forward five days and they are now riding the crest of a wave following a 4-0 win and have an elite coach in the hotseat.
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Emery had the chance to return to the English top flight last season after Newcastle reached out to him following the sacking of Steve Bruce, but the Spaniard didn’t want to pass up the chance to compete in the Champions League, guiding Villarreal to the penultimate round in 2021/22.
Under his stewardship, The Yellow Submarine marked their maiden campaign in Europe’s premier competition by claiming the scalps of Juventus, Bayern Munich and then giving Liverpool a fiercely competitive game in the semi-finals, leading 2-0 in the second leg at one point.
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Emery’s managerial talents certainly weren’t loss on Jurgen Klopp who, at the time, described his Spanish counterpart as a “world class” coach. The Liverpool boss went on further to explain exactly why Emery is such an elite tactician.
“Unai is a detail-obsessed manager who prepares for all different situations in the game and that’s what his team is executing,” Klopp said in April earlier this year.
“It’s really, really good, different ways to build-up, different ways to press, different ways to react on results.
“He is a world class coach is doing an incredible job there.
“Our job is to make life difficult as possible for them and that is what we will try and do over the two legs.”
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Emery will be relishing another match-up against the Reds, with Villa taking on Liverpool in their first game back after the World Cup on Boxing Day. But, before he can begin his “detail-obsessed” dossier on Liverpool, he first has the task of taking on Manchester United in back-to-back games.
The 50-year-old — who guided Villarreal to the 2020 Europa League at the expense of Man Utd in the final — will start his new role on November 1, meaning Danks will remain in charge of the club for this weekend’s journey to high-flying Newcastle United.